Current Project

A Reliable Privacy and Security Iconography

Academics of the Interdisciplinary Research group in Socio-Technical Cybersecurity (IRiSC), of the University of Luxembourg’s Centre for Security, Reliability and Trust (UL/SnT), are setting up a research plan meant to build scientific knowledge to establish a reliable and standardised use of icons and other design patterns in the data protection, privacy, and security domains.

This work addresses issues concerning graphical indicators that arguably improve the transparency and comprehensibility of online information addressed to data subjects, as suggested in the GDPR. The expected contributions are the following:

  • a critical evaluation of icons as effective means of communication of data protection, privacy and security concepts on online documents and interfaces.
  • insights about the extent to which icons can be considered an appropriate means to enhance the transparency of information provided to data subjects, as envisaged by Art. 12.7 GDPR.
  • evidence-based guidelines for the meaningful implementation of icons in multiple scenarios where the transparency of communication is crucial. The guidelines are meant to contribute and possibly encourage more extensive research and real-world applications, even beyond data protection (e.g. security, consumer protection, finance).


Gabriele Lenzini:
Arianna Rossi:

Most relevant publications

Rossi, A & Lenzini, G., (2020). Making the Case for Evidence-based Standardization of Data Privacy and Data Protection Visual Indicators. In: R. Ducato (Eds.), JOAL Special issue on Visual Law Vol. 8 No. 1 (2020), JOAL.

Rossi, A. & Lenzini, G., (forthcoming). Which Properties has an Icon? A Critical Discussion on Evaluation Methods for Standardised Data Protection Iconography. Proceedings of the 8th Workshop on Socio-Technical Aspects in Security and Trust (STAST), Springer.

Further project description and contact information are available here