Workshop “Towards privacy-aware and acceptable lifelogging services for older and frail people” at the AAL Forum 2019

Wednesday 25 September 16:00-17:30
Room: 11 + 12

Rationale & objectives

Lifelogging (also known as quantified self or self-tracking) technologies may enable and motivate individuals to pervasively capture data about them, their environment, and the people with whom they interact. Acquisition and processing of physiological signals (e.g. heart rate, respiratory rate, body temperature, and skin conductance), motion, location, performed activities, images seen, and sounds heard, are the basis for the provision of a variety of cutting-edge services to increase peoples’ health, wellbeing, and independence. Examples of these services include personalised healthcare, wellness monitoring (physical activity, dietary habits), support for people with memory impairments, social participation, mobility, support to formal and informal caregivers, predictive systems (decline in cognition, aggressive behaviours, fall prevention).

In contrast to the advanced technical development in lifelogging technologies, the knowledge about the human factor regarding the willingness to adopt such technologies and to be supported by digital services is still considerably underdeveloped. This lack of understanding has significantly reduced the transfer of these developments to innovations having a social and economic impact. As healthcare technology is increasingly integrated in private spheres and captures highly sensitive personal data, these developments may cause concerns about privacy and loss of control, especially as it regards an aged and frail user group: Sensitive and detailed information regarding health status, physical conditions, and behavioural patterns might be available everywhere, anytime, and for different stakeholders. This may implicate both positive (e.g. productivity, mobility and growth) but also negative and threatening effects, (e.g. violations of privacy, security concerns, infrastructure constraints and distrust in smart healthcare applications). Gender effects in this sensitive issue need also to be considered, as women show a different acceptance pattern in these technologies as well as a higher need for privacy.

Aspects of humans’ technology acceptance, the detailed study and the willingness to accept self-tracking technology as well as the individual usage motives and barriers are mostly disregarded or even underestimated so far. Any successful rollout of such sensitive technologies requires first and foremost the acceptance of users and their openness to not only tolerate technical approaches, but to integrate user-centred technology in their personal life.

The General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) establishes the obligation for technologies to meet the principles of data protection by design and data protection by default. Hence, lifelogging technologies must consider privacy-by-design methodologies in order to protect the fundamental rights not only of the users but also of other people interacting with them or by-standers, particularly if video or audio is employed, which can easily capture the personal data of these third-parties without their knowledge or consent.

Therefore, this special session aims at discussing all these issues and collecting, from the different stakeholders participating in the session, their opinions about the motives and barriers that limit users’ acceptance and make difficult the deployment of lifelogging services for AAL.

The proposers are closely collaborating to provide an intercultural pan-European acceptance cartography of lifelogging technologies and guidelines to design privacy-compliant life-logging solutions addressing the new GDPR obligations, which could be a reference for technology designers, policy makers and other stakeholders.


The session will include short presentations by experts in AAL technologies, empirical modelling of acceptance, usability, and impact of lifelogging technologies; and policy and regulatory aspects, in particular related to privacy and data protection. Dr Spinsante will introduce the main lifelogging technologies and related AAL services. Prof Ziefle will discuss the perceived benefits and barriers of the use of lifelogging technologies. Dr Colonna will analyse the fragmentation in laws and regulations, which make developments more challenging, particularly given the fact that many lifelogging tools have an international dimension. These experts are currently collaborating in the project PAAL – Privacy-Aware and Acceptable Lifelogging services for older and frail people[1] and the latest outcomes of the project will be presented during the session.

These presentations will be the starting point to open the discussions on these topics. The attendees will be divided into heterogeneous groups of 5-6 persons. When possible each of these groups will include experts with background in technology, usability, acceptance; end-users; policy makers. Each group will work for 20 minutes independently discussing how to address the perceived barriers to the use of lifelogging technologies. Then, there will be a global discussion for the rest of the session.

We intend to record the entire session or, at least, transcribe all the discussions and conclusions that may happen during the session, in order to facilitate their analysis and use for ongoing research tasks. All the presentations will also be available for the AAL community after the Forum in order to continue with the discussions and contributions online.

Summary of agenda

  1. Presentation of the session and speakers – Dr Francisco Florez-Revuelta (5 min)
  2. Lifelogging technologies for AAL – Dr Susanna Spinsante (10 min)
  3. Legal and regulatory challenges to utilizing lifelogging technologies – Dr Liane Colonna (15 min)
  4. Perceived benefits and barriers of lifelogging solutions – Dr Julia Offermann-van Heek (15 min)
  5. Open discussion on acceptable lifelogging services for older and frail people – Chaired by Dr Alex Mihailidis (35 min)
  6. Conclusions and closing (10 min)


  • Francisco Florez-Revuelta, Departamento de Tecnología Informática y Computación, Universidad de Alicante, Ctra San Vicente del Raspeig S/N, San Vicente del Raspeig, Spain
  • Susanna Spinsante, Dipartimento di Ingegneria dell’Informazione, Università Politecnica delle Marche, Via Brecce, Bianche 12 Ancona, Italy
  • Liane Colonna, The Swedish Law and Informatics Research Institute, Stockholm University, Universitetsvägen 10 C, Stockholm, Sweden
  • Julia Offermann-van Heek, Human-Computer Interaction Center, RWTH Aachen University, Campus-Boulevard 57, Aachen, Germany
  • Alex Mihailidis, Department of Occupational Science and Occupational Therapy, University of Toronto, 160 – 500 University Ave Toronto, Canada

More information

More information and registration at the AAL Forum website.

[1] Privacy-Aware and Acceptable Lifelogging services for older and frail people (PAAL) is a transnational research project, which has received funds under the JTC 2017 launched by JPI “More Years, Better Lives.” Duration: April 2018-March 2021 –