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My name is Esther Keymolen and I am an Assistant Professor in Ethics, Law, and Policy of new Data Technologies at the Tilburg Institute for Law, Technology, and Society (Tilburg University). I have a background in philosophy of technology and postphenomenology. I also hold a Bachelor’s degree in pop music. My research focuses on the role of trust and privacy in networked and smart environments. In my book Trust on The Line, I developed a conceptual trust model, which I apply to analyze different topical cases, such as: Airbnb, smart cities, smart toys, digital hotel keys, and personalized online advertisement. My work has also appeared in several newspapers, documentaries, and on Dutch television. Previously, I worked for the Scientific Council for Government Policy (WRR) and at Leiden University (eLaw, Centre for Law and Digital Technologies).
With a background in philosophy of technology and data ethics, I analyze the way in which technologies mediate our interactions with ourselves, other people, and the world around us. The starting point of my research is, therefore, that to understand how people go about their privacy in everyday life, we have to examine how they place trust in technologies. My research is multidisciplinary in nature. Methodologically, it relies on case studies and refers to practical problems. Theory-building on experiential aspects of privacy contributes to research in philosophy of technology as well as to socio-legal debate about privacy and data protection. Understanding privacy through the lens of trust leads the discussion in a promising direction, with more attention to data subjects’ expectations, vulnerabilities, and changing values inherent in a mediated trust relation.