Hidden Internet: Recommendations for businesses and policymakers on how to improve privacy protection

June 30, 2015

Everyday devices and technologies increasingly have an Internet connection or Internet-based additional features. The data transfer associated with this connection is almost unnoticeable to end users and poses new challenges to data protection and privacy. In the Policy Paper “Hidden Internet“, experts in the research network “Forum Privacy and self-determined life in the digital world“ recommend an expansion of existing data protection regulations. They also urge taking measures to create a new culture of data protection.

Given the rapid expansion of Internet-based technologies, experts in the research network “Forum Privacy“ suggest a series of improvements to decision-makers in businesses and politics in their Policy Paper on the “Hidden Internet“ that are intended to enhance data protection. The recommended options include the transparent integration of Internet-based features in hitherto non-connected devices, privacy-enhancing settings (privacy by default) as well as labelling and certification schemes based on data protection principles.  

In addition, information, education and further training measures should be used to make people more aware of data protection issues. Regulation should be used to severely restrict the – often unnecessary – interference in user rights and the blatant lack of transparency. If these policy options were implemented, in the future, personal data could be collected specifically for the intended purpose and any further use would be more transparent and comprehensible to users. 

The Policy Paper can be downloaded on the Forum Privacy website.

The Fraunhofer Institute for Systems and Innovation Research ISI analyzes the origins and impacts of innovations. We research the short- and long-term developments of innovation processes and the impacts of new technologies and services on society. On this basis, we are able to provide our clients from industry, politics and science with recommendations for action and perspectives for key decisions. Our expertise is founded on our scientific competence as well as an interdisciplinary and systemic research approach.