Auster: A service designed on the context of a surveillance society in an increasingly connected world
Abstract: The privacy and surveillance issues that are consequences of the Internet of Things are the motivation and grounding for this thesis project. The Internet of Things (IoT) is a scenario in which physical objects are able to communicate to each other and the environment, by transferring data over communication networks. The IoT allows technology to become smaller and more ubiquitous, and by being integrated in the environment around us, the world is becoming increasingly connected. Even though these developments will generally make our lives easier and more enjoyable, the Internet of Things also faces some challenges. One of these are the aforementioned privacy and surveillance issues that are the results of transferring sensitive data over communication networks. The aim of this thesis project is therefore to answer, both in a theoretical, as well as in a practical way, the following research question: How can the Internet of Things be more accessible and safe for the everyday user? Accordingly, the Auster online platform, the Auster app and the Data Obfuscation Kit were developed to provide people with the tools and knowledge to construct home automation projects themselves, as an alternative for using applications from governments and corporations alike. The aim is to create a way to endow people with the capability to exploit their talents, realise their visions and share this with a community joining forces. By enabling people to create their own home automation projects, personal data is kept in the user’s possession and the collection of data by governments and companies alike is prevented. Moreover, by giving the control over technology back to the user, creativity and innovation in the field of the Internet of Things in domestic environments are expected to increase.
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