Understanding issues related to personal data and data protection in open source projects on GitHub

Anne Henning, Lukas Schulte, Steffen Herbold, Oksana Kulyk, Peter Mayer

Research output: Conference Article in Proceeding or Book/Report chapterArticle in proceedingsResearchpeer-review


Context: Data protection regulations such as the GDPR and the
CCPA affect how software may handle the personal data of its
users and how consent for handling of such data may be given.
Prior literature focused on how this works in operation, but lacks a
perspective of the impact on the software development process.
Objective: Within our work, we will address this gap and explore
how software development itself is impacted. We want to understand which data protection-related issues are reported, who reports
them, and how developers react to such issues.
Method: We will conduct an exploratory study based on issues that
are reported with respect to data protection in open source software
on GitHub. We will determine the roles of the actors involved, the
status of such issues, and we use inductive coding to understand
the data protection issues. We qualitatively analyze the issues as
part of the inductive coding and further explore the reasoning
for resolutions. We quantitatively analyze the relation between
the roles, resolutions, and data protection issues to understand
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationRegistered Report with Continuity Acceptance (CA) for submission to Empirical Software Engineering granted by RR-Committee of the MSR'23
Number of pages8
Publication date2023
Publication statusPublished - 2023
Event 20th International Conference on Mining Software Repositories (MSR ’23). : MSR 2023 - Melbourne, Melbourne, Australia
Duration: 15 May 202316 May 2023
Conference number: 20


Conference 20th International Conference on Mining Software Repositories (MSR ’23).
Internet address


  • Data Protection
  • Software Development
  • GDPR
  • CCPA
  • Open Source Software


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