New social media has led to an explosion in personal digital data that encompasses both those expressions of self chosen by the individual as well as reflections of self provided by other, third parties. The resulting Digital Personhood (DP) data is complex and for many users it is too easy to become lost in the mire of digital data. This is unfortunate as these digital representations of self are not only valuable to the individual as a means of self-reflection, but also have great information value as a community, business and social policy resource.

The ability to represent and edit personal digital data in a meaningful form is crucial to the empowerment of individuals and communities and that it could also generate significant benefit to government and business. This ‘meaningful form’ should include a filmic, narrative structure that is easy to comprehend and edit and that allows for a simply comparison of one digital life with another. In short, we aim to build searchable, personal film-like documentaries, ‘Reels’, from existing, digital data. ReelLives is an EPSRC funded project on ‘digital personhood’. The project will explore new ways to represent our digital lives in filmic form, offering individuals the chance to reflect on their online identities and to edit their digital selves (EP/L004062/1).

Author: James Nicholson

James is a Lecturer in the School of Computer and Information Sciences. James is interested in inclusive cybersecurity and leads the CyberGuardians research project. He is also interested in usable security, social engineering, and everyday surveillance. Previously, James was a senior researcher in PaCT Lab working on the Cybersecurity Across the Lifespan (cSALSA) project. The project explores how cyber-security is understood, and the attitudes and behaviours of people to cyber-security and risk. During his time in PaCT Lab, James also worked on Choice Architecture for Information Security (ChAISe), Digital Economy Research Centre (DERC), and the Horizon 2020 project CYBECO. Prior to PaCT Lab, James worked at Open Lab, Newcastle University on the TEDDI and SiDE projects. James’ work has focused on improving user authentication, both by repurposing existing graphical authentication systems and by evaluating novel ones. He is also interested in user privacy and how groups of users (children, parents, older adults) experience location tracking technologies, as well as how CCTV video can be crowdsourced to de-centralise the surveillance landscape. More recently, he has developed tools and methodologies for uncovering and understanding employees’ mental models of security threats with the aim of improving training programmes and/or organisational policies, as well as practical means for improving users’ protection against these security threats (e.g. phishing).