WIT Press

Semantic Web: A Personal Privacy Perspective


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S. Atkinson, P. Jagodzinski, C. Johnson & A. Phippen


This paper describes an ongoing investigation into the potential impact that the Semantic Web could have on the personal privacy of individuals. The argument presented is that personal privacy should become part of the underlying architecture and design of the Semantic Web in order to limit the vulnerability of individuals. The current structure of the Semantic Web does not explicitly address the issue of the control of personal data, which could in turn lead to individuals being placed in positions of vulnerability. Personal privacy is seen as a major element of vulnerability and has caused some dilemmas from the legal perspective, balancing those who would hide their wrongdoing behind privacy against those who would be exposed to harm if there were no privacy. Issues of privacy are explored from the perspective of three groups of individuals: survivors of domestic violence; people who are not IT specialists; and teenagers. The impact of current web technologies on these groups is explored in order to gain insight into how the Semantic Web might be adapted. The paper concludes with a proposal for further research into the development of a Semantic Web tool which will aim to support individuals in identifying the potential threats to their privacy that arise from each sortie into cyberspace. Particular emphasis will be given to the issues faced by vulnerable groups and individuals. Keywords: Semantic Web, privacy, vulnerability, domestic violence, teenagers. 1 Introduction The Semantic Web purports to be a solution to the frustrations of end-users when searching for information. Data is to be marked in such a way that computers are able to make use of it in a more intelligent fashion.


Semantic Web, privacy, vulnerability, domestic violence, teenagers.