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The Only Way is Ethics: A tour of data-privacy issues in AAC

Research Stream
  • Lizzie Coles-Kemp (Royal Holloway - University of London)
  • Joseph Reddington (Royal Holloway - University of London)

AAC technology has the potential to improve quality of life by enabling the fundamental right to communication. For this to occur, AAC design needs to respond to privacy and personal data use needs and problems. This paper also argues that responses must be appropriate for constraints inherent within user communities.


The paper uses examples to identify key tensions in the management of personal data. We have selected three AAC-specific examples through which to explore the issues in particular contexts and identify different combinations of constraints placed on AAC design in each scenario.


The constraints placed on AAC-design include the need to support co-use and assisted AAC use, varying literacy and cognition capabilities and physical wear and tear. As a result, many of the traditional methods of privacy and personal data management will either not perform well or will not scale in the AAC environment.


This paper argues that AAC devices can only significantly support users with communication difficulties to achieve greater independence and social inclusion if their design and implementation both addresses and identifies privacy and personal data needs and problems.

Level of Session 
Age Group 
All Ages