A large majority of Europeans engage with Online Social Networks (OSNs) and a recent Eurobarometer study concludes that 74% of respondents think that they do not have enough control of the data they share and 70% are concerned with the way such data are handled by OSNs. In response to these concerns, USEMP aims at developing a framework that will empower users by enhancing their control over the data they distribute or interact with. The framework will reduce the existing asymmetry between data processing and control means available to OSNs and those afforded by citizens.

USEMP will contribute to the reduction of this asymmetry and will propose a multidisciplinary approach motivated by the following objectives:

  • Advance the understanding of privacy issues on the Web through an empirical approach that combines legal, sociological, media studies and computer science perspectives. These aspects reveal different facets of the problem and are essential to the proposition of innovative privacy and personal data protection models.
  • Empower users through the introduction of semi-automatic mechanisms that assist them in personal data management tasks. Focus will be put on integrating insights from legal and user studies in multimedia information extraction tools in order to enhance user experience.
  • Contribute to raising users’ awareness concerning the advantages and risks related to sharing personal data. Particular attention will be given to the proposition of means to understand monetisation processes that take place on OSNs and on the user-controlled licensing of a part of the personal data.

USEMP will demonstrate the added value of its outcomes through two use cases that will investigate (a) OSN presence control and (b) economic value of personal information. The FIRE infrastructure will be used to carry experiments related to user research, notably using living labs approach, and to evaluate developed tools from a technical perspective in large scale settings.