Ambient intelligence, ethics and privacy

J. Hoof, van, H.S.M. Kort, P. Markopoulos, M. Soede

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Networked and ubiquitous information and communication technologies (ICTs) and ambient intelligence are increasingly used in the home environment to facilitate independent living for older adults. These systems collect and disperse a high volume of personal data, which is used for assistance and monitoring by professional carers in order to provide more responsive care for high-risk individuals. These personal data are often also sent to commercial service providers. The computerisation of the home environments, while providing many positive potential uses, goes together with concerns about privacy, sensitivity of data, ethics, and the inclusion of all groups of older adults, also those with dementia. It is arguable that present privacy regulation lags behind technological developments, especially with society moving into the era of ambient intelligence, which promises to intensify data collection in kind, frequency and volume. Also, personal control by older users is becoming ever more laborious to exercise in ambient intelligence environments. A combined agenda of technological and legislative developments is needed to support, as well as inform, the wider public and especially the older population about the legitimacy and the appropriateness of the data collection for the service provided. While principles hold just as much for the internet domain as for ambient intelligence, the complexity and diversity of the latter call for extra care to ensure transparency for the older population.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)155-163
Number of pages9
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 2007


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