Personal data have become merchandisable asset encouraging various stakeholders to collect such data and trade them without the end-user awareness and acceptance. The European Union has taken the lead in adapting the legal framework to better protect the citizens’ rights and interests. However, the extent of the Internet and smart phone applications, the fact that data can be retrieved without the owner knowledge and the vast majority of those applications are developed from outside the EU jurisdiction, strongly limit the possibility to effectively impose a privacy-protection framework globally with a conventional approach. Moreover, privacy norms are perceived as complex by many citizens.
The Privacy Flag project will research and combine the potential of crowdsourcing, ICT technologies and legal expertise to protect citizens’ privacy when visiting websites, using smartphone applications, or living in a smart city. It will enable citizens to monitor and control their privacy with a user friendly solution made available as a smart phone application, a web browser add-on, and a public website,- all connected to a shared knowledge database. It will benefit from the outcomes of over several related research projects, in order to provide a new paradigm of privacy protection combining “endo-protection” with locally deployed privacy enablers protecting the citizens privacy from unwanted external access to their data, and “exo-protection” with a distributed and crowd-sourced monitoring framework able to provide a collective protection framework together with increased citizen awareness and implicit pressures on companies to improve their privacy compliance.