Tinkering the Wicked Problem of Privacy Design Challenges and Opportunities for Crypto-based Services

University dissertation from Karlstads universitet


Data privacy has been growing in importance in recent years, especially with the constant increase of online activity. Consequently, researchers study, design, and develop solutions aimed at enhancing users' data privacy. The wicked problem of data privacy is a dynamic challenge that defies straightforward solutions. Since there are many factors involved in data privacy, such as technological, legal, and human aspects, we can only aim at mitigating rather than solving this wicked problem.

Our aim was to explore challenges and opportunities with a focus on human aspects for designing usable crypto-based privacy-enhancing technologies (PETs). Mainly, there were three PETs in the cloud context included in our studies: malleable signatures, secret sharing, and homomorphic encryption. Based on the three PETs, services were developed within European research projects that were the scope of our user studies. We followed a user-centered design approach by using empirical qualitative and quantitative means for collecting study data. Our results and tinkering conveyed (i) analysis of different categories of user's perspectives, mental models, and trade-offs, (ii) user requirements for PET services, and (iii) user interface design guidelines for PET services. In our contributions, we highlight considerations and guidelines for supporting the design of future solutions.

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