Putting the Right P in PIMS: Normative Challenges for Protecting Vulnerable People’s Data through Personal Information Management Systems


  • Stanislaw Piasecki University of Nottingham
  • Jiahong Chen University of Sheffield
  • Derek McAuley


An increasing number of vulnerable individuals live within smart homes. Personal information management systems (PIMS) are a type of privacy enhancing technology (PET), which could help in safeguarding and managing their data more efficiently within a smart home context, thereby improving compliance with data protection law. Using PIMS for protecting vulnerable people’s personal data, however, may raise questions regarding the normative justifications for this technological approach. The extra care and support owed to individuals with vulnerabilities may tip the balance in some theoretical debates, such as ‘privacy as confidentiality vs privacy as control’. By further examining these debates in the context of IoT devices used by vulnerable people, it is shown that while edge-computing PIMS hold promise for enhancing privacy protection for vulnerable data subjects, designers of these systems need to consider carefully the implications of implementing different privacy paradigms.






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