Networked Public Space: Open-Source Environmental Sensing / Perception of Privacy in Virtual Assistants: Consumers vs. Corporations

Author: ORCID icon
Le, Teagan, School of Engineering and Applied Science, University of Virginia
Norton, Peter, EN-Engineering and Society, University of Virginia
Vrugtman, Rosanne, EN-Comp Science Dept, University of Virginia

How is consumer artificial intelligence being developed and marketed? Companies develop AI’s capabilities to expand their markets.

In the Networked Public Space project, researchers sought to develop and apply open-source software and hardware to environmental monitoring in public space as an affordable alternative to existing environmental sensing hardware. Hardware and software were integrated in several completed sensor boxes, which were demonstrated at two events. The boxes are open-source; anyone can manufacture the kits from commodity parts.

Consumers, technology companies, and privacy advocacies compete to determine the limits of permissible data collection by virtual assistants. Users are largely apathetic about the privacy of their virtual assistants. Companies appease critics by implementing privacy controls and through advertising. Companies and privacy advocacies compete to shape enforceable privacy standards. Technology companies have exploited a favorable regulatory environment and public apathy, but advocacies are gaining support for stronger data privacy regulations.

BS (Bachelor of Science)
Environmental sensing, Citizen science, Virtual assistants, Digital privacy

School of Engineering and Applied Science
Bachelor of Science in Computer Science
Capstone Advisor: Rosanne Vrugtman
STS Advisor: Peter Norton

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