Shakhina, N. et al.Active online choices: Designing to empower users

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Natalia Shakhina, Rosanna Barry, Nathan Bookbinder-Ryan & Catherine Miller

Release date:
August 2021

The Behavioural Insights Team (BIT), report

Digital products and services are integral to modern life, but awareness of how they operate is low, and they are not always designed to easily allow us to use them in ways that align with our individual values or needs. This can range from controlling what data services collect about us, to the kinds of content shown in our social media feeds and advertising we receive.

Designing services that enable people to use them in line with their preferences is an important part of creating a positive technology landscape, and this is gaining recognition among policymakers, regulators and industry. The Behavioural Insights Team (BIT) partnered with the Centre for Data Ethics and Innovation (CDEI) and Doteveryone to explore how to create 'active' choices for online users. The authors defined active choices as choices that reflect users’ wishes without obstruction, and are based on an understanding of the likely consequences. This work builds on the CDEI's review of online targeting, which included recommendations to government, regulators and industry, regarding how data is used to shape the online experience.

The aim of this project was to explore and demonstrate how to create active choices; choices where individual users are empowered to better control how they use digital products and services, clear in the understanding of the consequences.

Link to publication