Internet of Things Garage

Cyber Physical Privacy for Independent Living and Ageing

Privacy Considerations when Designing Smart Home Systems to Facilitate Independent Living for Ageing

We live in the revolution of smart home devices such as smart speakers, lighting and thermostats, which are rapidly developed and adopted by different people. Those devices collect, process, and disseminate end-user data to facilitate different functionalities, such as recommendations and automation. These functionalities typically being convenient and efficient to the environments they are being deployed. For example, a smart lighting system may automatically configure its setting to reduce energy consumption while providing optimal service to the end-users. However, such functionalities require them to monitor end-user behaviour and track their whereabouts, moods, preference, etc.

Smart devices are connected and share data to achieve a common goal. We can be considerate that some of the devices have sensitive data such as the house’s location that can negatively affect the household’s life. People (especially older adults and vulnerable people) face violating their privacy if data collection practices deviate. Some studies show that the elderly have privacy concerns and avoid using any smart devices that monitor them. Privacy concerns are one of the most significant barriers in using the monitoring device in a smart home. Older adults, especially those with mild cognitive impairment, are vulnerable to the risk of privacy being violated as they may not configure their privacy preferences.

This project focuses on privacy and data protection in smart homes and users of vulnerable communities by using physical artefacts. We focus on augmenting existing smart home systems and their privacy configuration mechanisms to improve privacy and data protection among vulnerable groups and help them configure their privacy and data protection requirements better. The main objectives of the project are:



Innovate Trust

Innovate Trust provides support and guidance to disabled people. In addition, Innovate Trust provides support to elderly, young, disadvantaged, and vulnerable members of the local community through our Student Volunteer projects.


PETRAS National Centre of Excellence for IoT Systems Cybersecurity is a consortium of eleven leading UK universities which will work together over the next three years to explore critical issues in privacy, ethics, trust, reliability, acceptability, and security.


Reem Aldhafiri, Georgina Powell, Elizabeth Smith, and Charith Perera Enhancing Privacy Awareness and Digital Skills in Smart Home Device Users with Privacy Assistant: A Conversational Interface for Older Adults, In Proceedings of Cyberpsychology Section Annual Conference, 24-25 July North East 2023
Reem Aldhafiri, Georgina Powell, Elizabeth Smith, and Charith Perera Voice-Enabled Privacy Assistant Towards Facilitating Successful Ageing in Smart Homes, In Proceedings of IEEE International Conference on Pervasive Computing and Communications Workshops and other Affiliated Events (PerCom Workshops), pp 343-345, 2023