Meaningful Consent in the Digital Economy (MCDE) is an EPSRC-funded research project that is examining issues related to giving and obtaining user consent online.
Despite being asked to "agree" constantly to terms of service, we do not currently have "meaningful consent." It is unclear whether having simple and meaningful consent mechanisms would change business fundamentally or enhance new kinds of economics around personal data sharing. Since consent is deemed necessary and part of a social contract for fairness, however, without meaningful consent, that social contract is effectively broken and the best intent of our laws undermined.
Our research challenges to address this gap are interdisciplinary: meaningful consent has implications for transforming current digital economy data practices; change will require potentially new business models, and certainly new forms of interaction to highlight policy without over burdening citizens as we go about our business. We have set out a vision to achieve an understanding of meaningful consent through a combination of interdisciplinary expert and citizen activities to deliver useful policy, business and technology guidelines.
MCDE is based at the University of Southampton, with industry and academic partners from across the world.