A taxonomy for the representation of privacy and data control signals

Kartik Chawla*, Joris Hulstijn

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contributionScientificpeer-review


In interacting with digital apps and services, users create digital iden- tities and generate massive amounts of associated personal data. The relationship between the user and the service provider in such cases is, inter alia, a principal- agent relationship governed by a ‘contract’. This contract is provided mostly in natural language text, however, and remains opaque to users. The need of the hour is multi-faceted documentation represented in machine-readable, natural language and graphical formats, to enable tools such as smart contracts and privacy assistants which could assist users in negotiating and monitoring agreements.
In this paper, we develop a Taxonomy for the Representation of Privacy and Data Control Signals. We focus on ‘signals’ because they play a crucial role in communicating how a service provider distinguishes itself in a market. We follow the methodology for developing taxonomies proposed by Nickerson et al. We start with a grounded analysis of the documentation of four smartphone-based fitness activity trackers, and compare these to insights from literature. We present the re- sults of the first two iterations of the design cycle. Validation shows that the Tax- onomy answers (10/14) relevant questions from Perera et al.’s requirements for the knowledge-modelling of privacy policies fully, (2/14) partially, and fails to answer (2/14). It also covers signals not identified by the checklist. We also validate the Taxonomy by applying it to extracts from documentation, and argue that it shows potential for the annotation and evaluation of privacy policies as well
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationLegal Knowledge and Information Systems
Subtitle of host publicationProceedings of the 33rd International Conference on Legal Knowledge and Information Systems (JURIX 2020)
PublisherIOS Press
Publication statusPublished - 2020
Event33rd International Conference on Legal Knowledge and Information Systems​ - , Czech Republic
Duration: 9 Dec 202011 Dec 2020

Publication series

NameFrontiers in Artificial Intelligence and Applications


Conference33rd International Conference on Legal Knowledge and Information Systems​
Abbreviated titleJURIX 2020
Country/TerritoryCzech Republic


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