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Title: Personal data : definition and access
Author: Parkinson, Brian
ISNI:       0000 0004 7656 3301
Awarding Body: University of Southampton
Current Institution: University of Southampton
Date of Award: 2018
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The terminology around personal data is used inconsistently, the concepts are unclear, and there is a poor understanding of their relationships. As a result, debate is hindered and individuals are increasingly concerned about the wider and more pervasive set of digital services that create inconceivable amounts of data which are collected, curated, matched, and compared by corporate and governmental actors. This research focuses on all data descriptive of an individual, named the digitally extended self, how it may be categorised, modelled, and accessed, then the issues associated with that access. A lexicological analysis of the terms used to describe personal data is conducted, and used to identify common concepts, proposing a model of the digitally extended self, showing how these concepts of personal data fit together. The model is then validated against key publications. The author's personal data was collected, using an auto digital ethnographic method, from a purposive sample of organisations representing a range of sectors in the UK then snowballing to the rest of the EU and beyond. An analysis of this data, and the process used to collect it, is conducted, demonstrating that individuals cannot discover their full digitally extended self. Variations between categories of data, organisational sectors and location of the organization are examined. Reasons for these variations are explored through nine semi-structured interviews with experts including legislators, IT management, Data Protection Officers, and a think tank director. Content analysis of the interview transcription points to a lack of willingness and capability as the reasons for the poor performance and lack of transparency, evident in government bodies. There are four claims to original knowledge; first the categorisation and model of personal data; second, the analysis showing variations in organisational performance; third, the analysis illustrating the impossibility of knowing one's own digitally extended self, and fourth, an assessment of, and reasons for, the poor performance of government organisations in responding to subject access requests.
Supervisor: Millard, David Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available