Role management in a privacy‐enhanced collaborative environment

Anja Lorenz (Business Information Systems, Chemnitz University of Technology, Chemnitz, Germany)
Katrin Borcea‐Pfitzmann (Privacy and Data Security, Dresden University of Technology, Dresden, Germany)

Interactive Technology and Smart Education

ISSN: 1741-5659

Publication date: 1 June 2010



Facing the dilemma between collaboration and privacy is a continual challenge for users. In this setting, the purpose of this paper is to discuss issues of a highly flexible role management integrated in a privacy‐enhanced collaborative environment (PECE).


The general framework was provided by former findings of several research projects, i.e. collaborative platform BluES and projects of privacy and identity management PRIME and PrimeLife. The role management concept bases on a literature survey and has been proofed by integration into the privacy‐enhanced environment BluES'n.


A three‐dimensional role management concept was developed describing users' rights, tasks, and positions. A discussion on how to fulfill privacy requirements yielded that a semi‐automated decision making regarding the use of roles with different identities is reasonable to support users' control of their privacy when interacting with others.

Research limitations/implications

The concept of flexible role management complies with the requirements of PECEs. However, a fully automated approach of rule‐based information disclosure is not possible as such decisions depend on personal and situational aspects.

Practical implications

Using the example of a flexible role management concept, research described in this paper demonstrates that privacy and interaction concerns can be balanced and should be considered in application design processes.

Social implications

Concepts of PECEs allow respecting privacy‐related attitudes and could improve the quality of service consumption.


The paper demonstrates contrasts between collaboration and privacy attitudes and presents solutions for the integration of role management to overcome this initially supposed contradiction.



Lorenz, A. and Borcea‐Pfitzmann, K. (2010), "Role management in a privacy‐enhanced collaborative environment", Interactive Technology and Smart Education, Vol. 7 No. 2, pp. 102-112.

Download as .RIS



Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2010, Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Please note you might not have access to this content

You may be able to access this content by login via Shibboleth, Open Athens or with your Emerald account.
If you would like to contact us about accessing this content, click the button and fill out the form.
To rent this content from Deepdyve, please click the button.