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Data Transitivity Analysis for Holistic Privacy on Mobile Devices


Project Description

The increased use of mobile devices and applications allows us to connect, work and enjoy ourselves in ever richer and more engaging ways. Consumers welcome the low prices of mobile software applications, yet often fail to understand the dominating business models of monetising personal data which make this possible. Even when users are aware that individual applications have access to some part of their personal data, they fail to realise that the major risks for them come from the potential integration of data from several different applications by third parties, “piecing together” a richer profile of user’s personal data, habits and activities than possible by a single application.

The proposed PhD research will create conceptual foundations and a system which can address this and advise users how their particular combination of mobile applications may provide the conditions for privacy violations. The two closely interlinked research questions are: firstly, what is the optimal reasoning mechanism to conduct the analysis of data transitivity relationships and interactions between existing policies in a sufficiently speedy manner to enable real-time warning of users who are in the process of installing an application, and secondly what are the factors which will impact users’ acceptance of such an advisory system. These questions will underpin different phases of a design science-driven PhD research project conducted by the doctoral student.

The successful candidate will be supervised by academics at the Management Sciences and Marketing Division at the Alliance Manchester Business School: Dr. Pedro Sampaio, Dr. Ali Owrak and Prof. Nikolay Mehandjiev. Prof John Davies, Chief Scientist from BT, will act as external supervisor and lead the industrial input into this research.

Funding Notes

The studentship commences September 2019 and is available for up to four years, with a stipend equivalent to RCUK rates (approx. £15,000, RCUK rates to be confirmed) plus an industrial top-up by BT of £6000 per annum. This also covers tuition fees at Home/EU level, and travel support for fieldwork, conferences and annual visits to BT Research.

We are seeking applications from exceptional UK/EU students with outstanding academic background in the fields of computer science, management science or data science. You must demonstrate that you are highly motivated, intellectually astute, with high-level analytical competencies and development skills.

Related Subjects

How good is research at University of Manchester in Business and Management Studies?

FTE Category A staff submitted: 121.63

Research output data provided by the Research Excellence Framework (REF)

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