Privacy Technical Debt (Hons) [Open]



External Member

Dr Nicolas Diaz-Ferreyra, from Hamburg University of Technology (TUHH).


Technical Debt (TD) is a metaphor introduced by Cunningham in 1992 to represent sub-optimal design or implementation solutions that yield a benefit in the short term but make changes more costly (or even impossible) in the medium/long-term. Nowadays, TD is studied as one of the main factors adding costs to software projects as it entails quality compromises that have a great impact in the final product.
Privacy is the ability of an individual or group to seclude themselves or information about themselves and thereby express themselves selectively. Multiparty privacy is concerned with information about several individuals and the conflicts that arise when the privacy preferences of these individuals differ. Along these lines, a developer can affect a user's privacy by producing software that is not properly anonymised or does not consider specific security concerns.


In this project, you will conduct a systematic literature review to understand what privacy means for software development when analysed through the lens of TD. You will have to read a large number of papers, synthesise their content, and produce a taxonomy of privacy debt and its most addressed smells. You will have to summarise information, create visualisations and thorough, in-depth analysis.



  • Programming knowledge, preferably either Python. Other languages are welcome but not needed.
  • Demonstrated academic writing skills.
  • Will to read a lot of papers and summarise information in spreadsheets.
  • Excellent attention to details.
Please, contact me via email with a detailed resume, and your comments (1 page only) on why you are interested in on this project.
Anybody is welcome to apply. However, female candidates (or female-identifying) are especially encouraged to submit.


  • Privacy and Security
  • Systematic Literature Review
  • Technical Debt
  • Taxonomies

Updated:  10 August 2021/Responsible Officer:  Dean, CECS/Page Contact:  CECS Marketing