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Consent Observatory

The “consent industry” refers to the ecosystem of technological solutions, data practices, and actors invested in gathering people’s consent, in order to make the data-centric business models of digital services compliant with data protection regulation. 

The Consent Observatory project investigates and – where necessary – intervenes in this industry by: 

  1. monitoring and reporting on the use, growth, and design of concept pop-ups on the web, as well as the impact of regulatory action; 
  2. providing scraping infrastructure for researchers and regulators to gather their own data; 3) maintaining the Consent-O-Matic browser extension (https://consentomatic.au.dk/) as countervailing technology, and supporting other consent automation services 

Related publications: 

  • Midas Nouwens, Ilaria Liccardi, Michael Veale, David Karger, Lalana Kagal. Dark Patterns after the GDPR: Scraping Consent Interface Designs and Demonstrating their Influence. In Proceedings of the 2020 CHI Conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems, April 25-30, 2020, Hawai’i, USA 
  • Michael Veale, Midas Nouwens, and Cristiana Santos. Impossible Asks: Can the Transparency and Consent Framework Ever Authorise Real-Time Bidding After the Belgian DPA Decision? In Technology and Regulation, 2022: 12-22 
  • Midas Nouwens, Rolf Bagge, Janus Bager Kristensen, Clemens Nylandsted Klokmose. Consent-O-Matic: Automatically Answering Consent Pop-ups Using Adversarial Interoperability. In Proceedings of the 2022 CHI Conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems 

Funded by Aarhus University Research Fund