Current Project

Designing Privacy Icons and Testing for its Effectiveness

The research project at Einstein Center Digital Future, University of the Arts in Berlin and University Siegen focuses on the interlace of the risk perceptions of data subjects and the principle of purpose limitation in data protection law (in particular, of the GDPR). 

The research approach builds upon the following three functions of the principle of purpose limitation:

  1. to make the consequences of the data processing for the data subject (i.e. their data protection risks) transparent by adequately specifying the processing purpose;
  2. to limit the risks of the ongoing processing to what has been implied by the original purpose, and on this basis,
  3. to enable the data subject to control the data protection risks effectively.

Against this background, the research questions of the project are:

  1. how data subjects understand, categorise and evaluate data protection risks with respect to the processing purpose(s) specified by the controller,
  2. and, vice versa, how processing purposes should be specified AND visualised so that data subjects effectively understand the respective data protection risk implied.

The concept applied by the research group builds upon theories and methods of both data protection law and regulation, and user experience design.


Prof. Dr. Max von Grafenstein, LL.M.:

Timo Jakobi:

Most relevant publications

  • Grafenstein, M. v. (2018). The Principle of Purpose Limitation in Data Protection Laws. The Risk-based Approach, Principles, and Private Standards as Elements for Regulating Innovation. Baden-Baden: Nomos. 
  • Nico Castelli, Gunnar Stevens, Timo Jakobi. Information Visualization at Home: A literature survey of consumption feedback design (going to be published)
  • Timo Jakobi, Sameer Patil, Dave Randall, Gunnar Stevens, Volker Wulf (2019)It Is About What They Could Do with the Data: A User Perspective on Privacy in Smart Metering, ACM Trans. Comput.-Hum. Interact. 26(1), S. 2:1–2:44, New York, NY, USA
  • Corinna Ogonowski, Timo Jakobi, Claudia Müller, Jan Hess (2018) PRAXLABS: A Sustainable Framework for User-Centered Information and Communication Technology Development-Cultivating Research Experiences from Living Labs in the Home

Further project description and relevant publications are available here.