In Memoriam: Sylvia Mercado Kierkegaard (1953–2015)

Sylvia Mercado Kierkegaard

Sylvia Mercado Kierkegaard

Professor Sylvia Mercado Kierkegaard was a Philippine jurist specialising in computer law. In 2009 she attained the position of Visiting Professor in the Faculty of Law at the University of Southampton, in the United Kingdom researching a diverse range of topics including, comparative contract law, alternative dispute resolution, intellectual property rights, European Union law, privacy, electronic commerce, cybersecurity, computer law, and data protection. Professor Kierkegaard was a lifelong learner who had vast knowledge with a strong multidisciplinary approach to her work. Remarkably, her breadth of knowledge never came at the expense of her depth of legal knowledge. 

Sylvia obtained her first academic degree, a Bachelor of Mass Communications (Journalism), in the early 1970s from the University of the Philippines and later studied at Stanford University where she completed her Masters in Asian Studies. In 2003, she duxed her class, attaining her Masters in European Union Business and Law at the University of Aarhus. In addition to living in the Philippines and Egypt (the two countries where her three children were born),the family  moved several times due to her husband’s work transfers. Living in Greece and Germany respectively, Sylvia was active as a born-again Christian Minister, serving the Lord and  reaching to others. In 1992, Sylvia and her husband, Allan Kierkegaard, decided to move the whole family back to Copenhagen, Denmark. Sylvia continued with her ministries whilst taking care of her three children.

It was in Copenhagen, that Sylvia felt she could well and truly re-enter the workforce full time as her children were older, and sincerely begin her career as an academic in the field she so loved. She began to publish articles on topical themes. She also participated in several conferences, at which time she realised there was a stark gap in the field. In 2006, Sylvia swiftly moved to establish the International Association of IT Lawyers (IAITL) targeted  at lawyers and legal practitioners who had an interest in Information Technology Law. The association’s mission sought to promote the study and further research in Computer Law  through international engagement and conferences, the formation of transnational networks and networking events, the publication of members’ research, and the timely announcement of new job openings. In the same year that Sylvia formed IAITL, the first IAITL conference was held in Hamburg with great success. This was followed annually by conferences in  Copenhagen, Istanbul, New York, Beijing, Prague, Malta, Barcelona, Nicosia, Athens, Bangkok and Lisbon. These conferences were known for their high standard in paper submission and  service, as well as by loyal conference participation by delegates, year after year. For those of us who have had the good fortune to host, organise, and program large-scale events such as this, it usually is a one off thing, like building a house. Sylvia built many houses in her time,  had the ability to mobilise volunteers, and was a visionary. 

Sylvia was a deep thinker about the future for numerous reasons. First, she had children, and felt it a duty to provide ways for which legal framework solutions could be used to protect humans. She was incredibly “international” or “bloc” focused in her research having  understood the forces of globalisation so well from the perspective of a Danish resident and Philippine citizen. For instance, she could especially see how new technologies could impact people (e.g. women and children) and how the law needed to rapidly develop to face the challenges (e.g. cyberbullying). She also knew well the digital divide between countries in Asia and the rest of the world. 

Prof. Kierkegaard also liked to tackle looming problems and help bring some definition to them. She would often consider what was “the right thing to do”, and did not mind being faced with what others believed to be insurmountable barriers, challenges or impossibilities like catching out regulators for their lack of enforceability of given laws. To her there was no problem that was unresolvable. It just took hard work, perseverance and persistence. Sylvia needs to be remembered as a trailblazer, a first mover in the European Union, especially in relation to topics that were complex and highly significant to long-term stability of the human race. She was a fierce advocate of data protection, and in the protection of children, and that new technologies should not encroach on an individual’s right to privacy. This editorial is devoted to the celebration of her academic work while she made a seminal contribution at the University of Southampton, throughout Europe and internationally. 

I provide here a list of highlights between 2009 and 2013 as they demonstrate the breadth of the research Prof. Kierkegaard was engaged in:
• Keynote speaker at the 16th Eurasia Summit on Information and Communication Technologies
• Invited lecture on the “Present State and Future Developments in EU Data Privacy and Protection and Info-Network Security” at Technion Israel Institute of Technology
• Recipient of an EU grant to conduct a visualization and privacy study in Israel
• Speaker and panellist at the Ankara Bar Congress
• Speaker and moderator at the Workshop on IPR, INPR Court in Bangkok
• Keynote speaker at the Digital Agenda Assembly of the European Commission Department of Information Society and Media and the European Parliament
• Chair at the EU Workshop on Cultural Heritage, Private Law and IPR from a global and EU-China Perspective
• Keynote speaker on Cybercrime Prevention organised by the Internet Fraud Association, Australian Police and International Association of Cybercrime Prevention in Sydney
• Keynote speaker on “Copyright, Patent, and Trademark” for the Perth Judiciary conference
• Summer School chairman: organized by the University of Vienna Economics, University of Gottingen, University of Hamburg, and Utrecht University
• Chairman for the Conference in Public law, Private law, Trade law in Cyprus
• Chair and workshop in Turkish Cyprus for the Supreme Court on Regulating Cyberspace
• Various lectures at Beijing Normal University, Communication University of China and Renmin University
• Keynote speaker, World Congress of Forensics, Chongqing China
• Workshop chairman for CASS for the China Supreme Court, for Hong Kong University of China, and the University of Macau
• Panel chairman for Challenges in Cybersecurity - Risks, Strategies, and Confidence-Building workshop organised by the Free University of Berlin, the University of Hamburg, the United Nations Institute for Disarmament Research in Geneva and the Federal Foreign Office Berlin
• Conference chairman and speaker, Cyberconference, Netherlands Antilles
• Speaker at the International Information Marketing Association Conference, Texas, USA
• Speaker at the Famagusta Law Conference in Turkish Cyprus
• Chairman, Hans Bredow-Max Planck Workshop on IP Law: “Regulating IPR”, Hamburg, Germany
• Speaker, panellist, ESF Strategic Workshop on Cybersecurity, Budapest, Hungary
• China IP Summer School Program in X’ian, Nanjing and Shanghai
• Keynote speaker, Cybercrime Conference, Brazil for ILA
• Chairman, speaker, IPL Conference, Barcelona, Spain
• Keynote speaker, Social Networking Workshop, Finland
• Chairman, co-Reach Workshop on IPR and ISP Liability, London, UK
• Chairman, co-Reach Workshop on IPR and Collective Society, Database, and Jurisdiction, Vienna
• Keynote speaker, EU Medforist Project under the auspices of Princess Sumaya of Jordan
• Keynote speaker and moderator,Workshop on Digital Convergence and Cyberlaw, Malaysian Centre of Regulatory Studies, Malaysia

• Keynote speaker, 5th Media Economics and City Development Conference, CUC, Beijing. Participation by over 50 mayors of China

• Co-Reach Workshop, CASS, Beijing
• Keynote speaker, First International Workshop on Transborder Commercial Law, University of South Africa and Nedbank
• Welcome speech, 4th Legal Security Privacy Conference and 3rd International Law and Trade Conference, Malta
• Panel with Interpol, EU Data Protection Commissioner and Eurojust regarding privacy issues under the 3rd Pillar, Brussels, Belgium
• Keynote speaker, The Ankara Bar Congress in Turkey
• Keynote speaker, International Information Management Association
• Panellist, Council of Europe, International E-Participation and Local Democracy Symposium, London
• Keynote speaker and panellist, Council of Europe, Madrid, Spain
• Welcome speech, 3rd IBLT Conference, New York, USA
• Welcome speech, 3rd LSPI Conference, Prague, Czech Republic September
• Keynote speaker, EU- China Joint Workshop Organised by the EU Commission and the Chinese Ministry of Information and Industry, Beijing, China

During the same time she was zipping across Europe, the US, the Middle East, Australasia and the Americas, somehow Sylvia was able to produce about 150 publications in 7 years. For anyone in the law, business or humanities,this is double or even triple the number of high-end outputs of what a typical A+ academic could produce. 

It was obvious to anyone on listening to Prof. Kierkegaard deliver a keynote or presentation, that she was not only an expert in her craft, but she could convey difficult concepts simply. Her formula was thus:
1. provide current examples of the subject matter at hand
2. illustrate visually with tangible examples and with visual queues (e.g. clipart) where possible
3. explain the relevance of the material in everyday life to various stakeholders
4. come in with heavy duty descriptions of laws, acts, codes, and regulations
5. consider exemptions to the general rule
6. consider the US and also federal and state legislative differences
7. identify case law examples
8. contextualise for the relevant audience (e.g. Australian cases and laws for a predominantly Australian audience)
9. describe how the EU is leading the way with new directives and compare with other nations
10. talk technology and technological issues and impacts on society
11. bring all the various aspects together with specific line by line Article identification; and
12. offer a bigger picture view all the while pointing to future challenges.

Prof. Kierkegaard loved to simplify thick legal speak and skillfully break it down into consumable chunks for her audience. She is one of the few people I know that could confidently deliver 75 Powerpoint slides in 60 minutes without demanding too much of her audience. Needless to say, Sylvia was a grand master in delivery. She was always well prepared with the unique ability to bring all the pieces of the puzzle together to offer cutting edge insights for all who were willing to listen. One could imagine her in full swing as a jurist as many of those qualities shone through during her time in academe. 

Sylvia was special; there was no doubt about that. She broke all the gender, academic and ethnic stereotypes: woman, wife, mother, self-confessed born-again spirit-filled Christian, multi-disciplinary scholar, Filipino and powerhouse leader, organiser, editor, innovator. I have tried to reflect on what made Sylvia so exceptional. No doubt,migrants feel privileged, for the greater part do not take for granted what they have, cherish the simple things in life, and are not boxed by the boundaries imposed on them by others, often over-achieving as a result. But there was something more to Sylvia. It was not just her cultural roots, her dynamic spirit of engagement, her passion for her craft- Sylvia had a sense of purpose and believed her work could make a difference, and could somehow see what others could not, years in advance. She also believed in the potential of every person that entered her path. 

Prof. Kierkegaard had a flair for engaging everyone she came into contact with: whether they were high court judges, ministers of data protection, European Union or industry lawyers, conference delegates, colleagues, students at Southampton University or simply members’ of the public. She loved people and she loved sharing. Sylvia was always ready to give a talk and always had something to contribute to a discussion in her field. She was vibrant, self-assured, meticulous and extraordinarily encyclopaedic. At the same time, she was willing to see your point of view, provide critical feedback and consider positions that were in deference to hers. The truth was however, you could seldom match it with Prof. Kierkegaard, but rather than feeling somewhat diminished after correspondence or face-to-face question time, you walked away feeling strengthened and encouraged.

Sylvia always made you feel important,that you could conquer the world, achieve anything if you put your mind to it, and that commitment should be placed in international causes that were meaningful to citizenry. In short, she believed all life was precious. She was always seemingly in a hurry to get things done, bring as many stakeholders together around a table as possible, travel to places where decisions and actions could be taken, and think about future issues before they became problematic in society. For Sylvia, there was no time like the present, geographic expanse was not a constraint, and she seldom wasted time putting her ideas into action.

To her name are many edited books with leading specialists, conferences hosted or chaired by her together with accompanying peer-reviewed proceedings, and many articles. The books alone which I have listed here are work enough for the average person over a lifetime of research, let alone 7 years:
• Laws and Practice: Critical Analysis and Legal Reasoning (ed., 2013)
• Contemporary Private Law (ed., 2012)

• Law, Governance and World Order (ed., 2012)
• Copyright Law in the Making – Chinese and European Perspectives (ed. With Willem Grosheide, 2012)
• Law Across Nations: Governance, Policy and Statutes (ed., 2011)
• Private Law: Rights, Duties and Conflicts (ed., 2010)
• Legal Discourse in Cyberlaw and Trade (ed., 2009)
• The Dynamics of Trade, Law and Economics (ed., 2008)
• Synergies and Conflicts in Cyberlaw (ed., 2008)
• Business, Law and Technology, Present and Emerging Trends (ed., 2008)
• International Law and Trade, Bridging the East-West Divide (ed., 2007)
• Cyberlaw, Security and Privacy (ed., 2007)
• Business, Law and Technology, Present and Emerging Trends (ed., vol. 1, 2006)
• Business, Law and Technology, Present and Emerging Trends (ed., vol. 2, 2006)
• Legal Privacy and Security Issues in Information Technology (ed., vol. 1, 2006)
• Legal Privacy and Security Issues in Information Technology (ed., vol. 2, 2006)

One considers how Prof. Kierkegaard could have been such a prolific publisher. Of course there must’ve been some significant sacrifices, but one could deduce that when she was not engaged in the classroom, or with her family, or with her local Church activities, or sleeping, she must’ve been at full throttle researching almost all the time into the early hours of the morning.

Before too long, Prof. Kierkegaard unsurprisingly was in very high demand, and this in a pre-Twitter, pre-ResearchGate, pre-Google Scholar world, where academic news travelled slower, though she heavily embraced online communications for knowledge sharing. She travelled to so many parts of the world to deliver talks, to collaborate, on invited visiting appointments
(e.g. China), as a legal consultant, as a government advisor (e.g. EU), and as an expert commentator to the media. One was always at a stretch to figure out how she did it all simultaneously. One day she could be in Lisbon, the next in Perth, China, and a few days later back corresponding, researching or working on a paper. For Sylvia her work was inseparable from her life’s journey. She also felt it her duty to educate those who perhaps did not have access to necessary expertise in institutions worldwide. As a Professor named in the Academic Centre of Excellence in Cyber Security Research in the UK, she also reached out far and wide, supervising a PhD candidate at the Communications University of China, and as an adjunct professor at Xi’an Jiaotong University among others. Her involvement was significant in the China market. 

She was also a fellow at the UN African Center for Cyberlaw and Cybercrime Prevention, consultant for the Data Protection SDN, BHD Malaysia and a member of the Advisory Board for
the World Council for Law Firms and Justice. She truly was an international citizen, while also contributing greatly to her neighbouring institutions, among them the London School of Economics as a policy expert on their Media Policy Project and was a member of the Policy and Scientific Committee of the European Privacy Association.

Dr Mohamed Chawki, Dr Katina Michael and the late Sylvia Mercado Kierkegaard in Sydney at the Cybercrime Prevention Conference in 2011

There was no doubt about the inner power and strength she possessed. She was a fast mover, always had new ideas, and was constantly thinking about the pressing issues in the field that needed to be addressed. She told me once in person while we attended the Cybercrime Prevention Conference hosted by the Internet Fraud Association in 2011, “The secret to a long and illustrious career is to tackle the topics before anyone else does. Think on the pressing matters that need to be urgently addressed today, and don’t hesitate in seeking solutions. Most people steer away from controversy in research, but I tackle it head on. Someone has to do it.” She also advised me on my career progression: “Katina, choose topics that are little  researched, and that few hesitate to consider the implications of, in that way you can make a bigger contribution in a short time-frame. So long as your interests align, and you are passionate about your subject matter.” I remember that conference well, as I was still breastfeeding. My husband encouraged me to leave all three kids with him, drive to Sydney, and to meet Sylvia in person. I was not disappointed. The person I had been corresponding with for several years was real. I cherish those few hours we had together during a lunch break and her keynote. We spoke more about faith and motherhood than academia. She was more than an academic - she was a whole person, with a multiplicity of roles. This is what made Sylvia so magnetic. 

For Prof. Kierkegaard, researching the law was a calling, there was something sacred about her mission. And she was right at home whether on a panel with the top EU representatives, as a keynote at a conference, or talking to every day mothers and fathers, or communicating with minors. In fact, when I think of Sylvia, I remember a dynamic woman whom I could not keep up with. She was always speaking somewhere, always writing books, always editing journals, always acting on a committee for reviewing papers, and always engaging. I do not ever recall her saying ‘no’. She never tired of the correspondence; despite I imagine her email trove was significant. You always were made to feel special. Sylvia was instructive also and always shared her own papers unreservedly. She even sent me her  powerpoint presentation files, relevant to my own work. She mentored continuously. 

I came across Prof. Kierkegaard’s research at the beginning of 2009 when I was completing my major project on DNA and the Prüm Treaty while studying towards a Masters of Transnational Crime Prevention in the law faculty at the University of Wollongong. By then Sylvia had a well-established academic teaching and research portfolio and was near the pinnacle of her career. Sylvia sent me half a dozen papers, and helped me clarify my research topic so that it could offer some original contribution. Her support during this time was crucial to me. She was such an inspiration for working mothers who were trying to raise a family, and somehow juggle an academic career. In this regard, Sylvia would say that the little children should always come first, and refer to the special responsibility that working mothers had to the health of their  households. When I told her I was pregnant with my third child, she eradicated the doubts in my mind that “I could not continue to do it all.” In 2011, a year after I had given birth to my third child, Sylvia could see the enormous pressure I was under. She gave me the words of encouragement I needed, reassured me that all would be well. She was also very proud of her own children and their achievements and was just elated when her daughter Margaux became pregnant in 2013. She could not wait to become a grandmother, to spend time with her grandchild. She would also mention her beloved husband to me often, of being a godly man who encouraged her onward daily. 

Many of us would have suspected that something was wrong when our emails remained unanswered. Sylvia was known to reply to messages within at most a few days. She would never leave you hanging. Somehow she always made you feel important despite the humungous workload she always engaged in. At most if a few weeks had passed by, you would get an email with longer guidance than you expected and then somehow additional helpful thoughts given a recent visit Sylvia had completed or an important  discussion she had with an influential notable. On one occasion in 2013, Sylvia had told me she was not feeling well but did not make it sound at all too serious, rather that investigations had begun to find out what was wrong. She asked me to pray for her and said for a short time she would try cutting back on her commitments. It was the last time we had contact. 

It is with great sadness that I write of the passing of one of the most brilliant people I have personally known in my career. Sylvia was 62 years old. And she had so much more to do. 

I consider Sylvia would have heavily contributed to necessary changes that she long foresaw, such as the introduction of the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) and passing of data breach notification laws. How she would have reacted today to the constant stream of business news such as the Facebook-Cambridge Analytica scandal, the role of social media in Brexit (and more), to IOT-invasive tech like Wi-Fi enabled toys for kids, to smartphone tracking and telecommunications metadata laws, autonomous systems like driverless cars, and the impact of artificial intelligence in the field of law. She would have particularly had much to say on the mega data breaches of Target, Equifax, and online platforms like eBay. Suffice to say, Sylvia would have had more than an opinion, but she was among the first to begin the discussion more than fifteen years before its actuation. Prof. Kierkegaard was a major supporter of the Computer Security Law Review journal begun by editor in chief Steve Saxby, an exceptional pioneer in his own right. Together, Steve and Sylvia were able to draw a global community of specialists to cultivate a nuanced socio-legal response to technological innovation. Unsurprisingly, after many years of effort, CLSR has become the number 1 outlet for such discussions and is truly multidisciplinary bringing together scholars and practitioners from diverse fields. Sylvia’s professional service to the community also extended to several other publications for which she had primary involvement (see 

• Editor in Chief, Journal of International Commercial Law and Technology
• Editor in Chief, International Journal of Private Law
• Editor in Chief, International Journal of Public Law and Policy
• President and Chairman of the Board, International Association of IT Lawyers (IAITL)


Sylvia was an authentic leader. She gave of her time, and people around her reciprocated with supporting her common vision. There are many examples of Sylvia’s mentorship, but if I named them here explicitly, I know that she would chastise me for disclosing things that, in her eyes, one did because they were “being human”. She shared in her successes, and lifted those people up around her. She was selfish when it came to carrying the load, and unselfish when it came to sharing the ‘glory’ with others. A model academic in my eyes, I am honoured to have called her my friend, albeit in the last 6 years of her life. I am sure that stories post this publication will surface, of examples of goodness, altruism, goodwill. Great people never die, they live on in our memories. And perhaps of all things, these are the achievements that matter. On our tombstone, the number of publications are not recorded, nor are the titles of “Professor” or “Chairman” or “Keynote Speaker”. We leave with just our name, our age, and the active reputation that precedes us in the number of years we had the opportunity to make a difference in this world we live in. Prof. Sylvia Kierkegaard, could say, on reflection, she did all she could in the time she had- she lived life to the max. She would likely tell us now, it is our turn to pick up where she left off, and continue on the fulfilment of her greater vision of  research on the implications of technology on the law. 

Above all, Sylvia valued relationships and people: her family and friends, colleagues and students. She was overjoyed by the effort of her own children in academia, Margaux in International Development and Management, Mikael an engineer specialising in innovation in industry, and Patrick a health informatics scholar. Sylvia, especially mentioned many times, Patrick’s contribution and co-authoring efforts in  joint work. Among my favourite papers that demonstrated Sylvia’s flair was one of her final publications printed in CLSR published in 2013 with son Patrick, titled: “Danger to public health: Medical devices, toxicity, virus and fraud”. Here she bravely took on some big names in industry holding them accountable to appropriate biomedical regulatory practices. 

Sylvia was larger than life, a force to be reckoned with, in the field of transnational law and the need for laws in the protection of people to assist in reducing the negative social implications
of technology. Sylvia’s voice was unique, and it will echo reverberations in decades to come. Such was the currency of her work. May you rest in peace Sylvia Mercado Kierkegaard. Thank
you for your passion and dedication to the field, and for igniting so many of us to follow in your footsteps. Thank you for being kind, and for loving others as you did. You have been missed greatly already but not forgotten. May your memory be eternal.

Professor Katina Michael
Faculty of Engineering and Information Sciences, University
of Wollongong, NSW, Australia 2522


Note from Steve Saxby, Editor-in-Chief, CLSR

I would like to thank Sylvia’s family for giving their permission to publish this ‘Editorial: In Memoriam’. Thank you also to Katina, for her heartfelt tribute and analysis of the outstanding
life and career of Sylvia. She first made contact with me in 2005 when she began to publish incisive pieces in CLSR. I quickly established a friendship with her and she joined the ‘Correspondents Panel’ of what was then Computer Law and Security Report. Little did I know what a meteoric decision that was going to be both for me and for the journal. Sylvia began discussing the idea of an annual conference that would explore legal, security and privacy Issues in IT and subsequently private law, public law and the intersection between
economics and law. She thought it would be a great idea to link the IT law related events to CLSR, which would become publisher of the best papers and issue prizes for these.

As Katina has explained, we began in 2006 in Copenhagen and 12 conferences later concluded the series in Lisbon when Sylvia’s health began to fail. These conferences, as those who have taken part will recall, had a unique character and their success was entirely down to Sylvia and her family’s personal commitment to organising these events. No University could possibly have taken on the organisation and financial risk that was involved. Sylvia was simply unique and utterly committed. A very loyal group of participants developed and we all looked forward to the next conference waiting for Sylvia to tell us where it would be. What impressed me was the fact that the book of conference papers was always printed and ready for distribution upon registration. More journals emerged too from these conferences, all guided by Sylvia’s  expertise and abundant energy.

But it did not end there. After 20 or more years as founder and editor of CLSR, I had been successful of course in building it up, but looking back I can see that I had become  comfortable with the routine and where the journal had reached. I needed to understand that so much more could be achieved. Sylvia ignited me to look further and come up with a plan. In Vol. 25.1 of the January 2009 edition my Editorial ‘Ringing the changes – A quarter century of CLSR’ announced what had been happening – a “full scale review of the journal, its image, content and position in the field”.

That is why, as we celebrate 200 issues of CLSR and see just how successful the implementation of that vision has been, it is only right and proper to honour Sylvia in this way. I must have had more than 3000 emails from her over the 10 years of our collaboration. Numerous phone calls too. She did not hold back when she thought something needed to be done and I can still hear her voice encouraging me to get on with it. The results of her input live on in the memory and in the wide range of contributions she has made to the subject and
support for all those who knew her. This has been so well set out too by Katina. Thank you so much Sylvia. We had a great time.

Steve Saxby

Citation: Katina Michael, 2018, Editorial: "In Memoriam: Sylvia Mercado Kierkegaard (1953-2015)", Computer Law & Security Review, 34, pp. 671–676.

Service-Based Electronic Commerce Systems (Editorial ECR)

1 Introduction

The increasing popularity of service-based applications accounts for the growth of e-commerce, as e-commerce systems are maintained by service providers themselves. Further, service-based e-commerce systems provide a flexible, low-cost business model to enable customers to focus more on their core business. The business can easily meet the fluctuating demands of business transactions through this model. Emerging electronic commerce systems are expected to be available anytime, anywhere, and using different official or personal computing devices. Service-based e-commerce systems will have businesses as customers using an on-demand model. Differing from traditional electronic commerce, the timely reporting and resolution of customer issues resulting in enhanced customer service and ubiquitous usage are the advantages of service-based e-commerce systems. This special issue aims to expose the readership to the latest research results on service-based electronic commerce systems, including the key technologies, such as enhancing the scalability, reliability, operational portability, security, integration and performance of the services. The special issue is composed of 3 refereed papers covering such topics as smartphone-based multimedia services, online auction frauds detection methods and privacy preserving in commercial networks. The issue is expected to demonstrate pioneer work in this field, investigate the novel solutions and methods for services design and discuss the future trends in this field.

2 The papers in this special issue

The first paper, “Design of Trustworthy Smartphone-Based Multimedia Services in Cultural Environments” by Dimitrios Koukopoulos and Georgios Styliaras, investigates the issues in mobile multimedia services. Smartphone is a dynamic new media that faces high popularity due to its versatile services and the friendliness of its usage. It can be used in many activities of everyday life from ecommerce to e-tourism. It studied smartphone’s secure usability in cultural heritage sites and environments and made a first attempt towards a trustworthy commercial multimedia guiding system targeting cultural sites that will be executed in a set of smartphones. More specifically, authors are interested in how the needs of curators and visitors, experts or not, of a cultural heritage site can be facilitated by the provided multimedia guiding services of smartphones employing trustworthy implementations of smartphone services that are controlled by a central server. Furthermore, the study makes an attempt to propose a simple business model for the commercial exploitation of such services.

In the second paper, “Factors affecting privacy disclosure on social network sites: An integrated model” by Feng Xu, Katina Michael and Xi Chen, investigates the factors affecting privacy disclosure on social network sites. The self-disclosure of personal information by users on social network sites plays a vital role in the self-sustainability of online social networking service provider platforms. However, people’s levels of privacy concern increases as a direct result of unauthorized procurement and exploitation of personal information from the use of social networks which in turn discourages users from disclosing their information or encourages users to submit fake information online. An integrated model is proposed to explain privacy disclosure behaviors on social network sites. The paper found the key factors affecting users’ self-disclosure of personal information. Using privacy calculus, the perceived benefit was combined into the Theory of Planned Behavior, and after some modifications, an integrated model was prescribed specifically for the context of social network sites. While design the services in social networks or electronic commerce systems, the paper’s results can be used to reduce the levels of privacy concern.

The third paper, “Fuzzy Rule Optimization for Online Auction Frauds Detection based on Genetic Algorithm” by Cheng-Hsien Yu and Shi-Jen Lin, investigates the auction frauds issues in online auction sites. To improve the prevention of online auction frauds, this research will propose a hybrid approach to detect the fraudster accounts to help the users to identify which seller is more dangerous. In the research, social network analysis was used to produce the behavior features and transform these features into fuzzy rules which can represent the detection rules. Then optimize the fuzzy rules by genetic algorithms to build the auction fraud detection model. The proposed features and methodologies were used to detect the fraudster accounts and find out the detection models of them. This paper is expected to give some suggestions for service designers of online auctions or electronic commerce systems and help the website administrators to detect the possible collusive fraud groups easier in online auction.

Citation: Lian, S., Chen, X. & Michael, K. Electron Commer Res (2013) 13, No. 2: 125-127., Springer US.


Editorial: In Memoriam of Associate Professor Dr Elaine Lawrence

Katina Michael, Technical Editor, April 2012

In memory of Elaine Lawrence, Australia

In memory of Elaine Lawrence, Australia

Despite being a graduate of the rigorous Bachelor of Information Technology at the University of Technology, Sydney (UTS) in 1996, I was unfortunate in that I missed being taught by Associate Professor Elaine Lawrence who began working at UTS in 1990 as a Lecturer in Computing Science. Dr Lawrence became a senior lecturer in 2000, and subsequently an associate professor in 2006. Our paths crossed in 2002 when I was tasked to deliver a new course entitled “eBusiness Principles” in my first year of lecturing at the University of Wollongong, and after an initial scurry to find an adequate textbook, I came across Dr Lawrence’s ground-breaking text Internet Commerce: Digital Models for Business. Lawrence’s book was a best-seller for Wiley, adopted by almost every course coordinator teaching e-business/e-commerce in Australia, at a time when information technology had burgeoning undergraduate numbers.

When my PhD supervisors, Professor Joan Cooper and Associate Professor Carole Alcock, suggested to me that Dr Lawrence would be a good choice for an examiner in 2003, I must say I was more than a little nervous. After doing some background research on the web to see the fit, I was in even greater awe noting the impact Dr Lawrence was having on the teaching of industry certifications, and the creation of new courses. Elaine was the Program Leader of the popular Masters of Internetworking degree at UTS and as a qualified Cisco Certified Academic instructor (CAI) she began the CISCO certification courses delivered at UTS, in addition to contributing a plethora of materials to the CISCO Academy that were used by an estimated one million persons globally. Lawrence also tested international teaching materials for CISCO in Ireland and the United States and was the NSW representative for the Educational Council for CISCO. I had spent five years at Nortel Networks, a CISCO competitor, and immediately felt an affinity with her background.

Dr Lawrence was the first student to complete the Doctor of Technology at Deakin University in 2001. In addition to this, Dr Lawrence had a Masters of Business Information Technology, a Graduate Diploma in Commercial Computing and a Bachelor of Arts (awarded the university prize for Journalism). She was a very active senior member of the Australian Computer Society (ACS) for more than 20 years and also a member of the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE).

In 1994 she began her own company called CyberConsult who had among its customers, Sydney Water, the Australian Institute of Management, Unilink and the Australian Computer Society. I do remember being taken by the fact that her slogan for her consulting business was “The Human Side of Technology.” Given my thesis was all about emerging technologies and their implications, I found peace in the fact that Dr Lawrence was a potential marker.

After receiving my PhD I corresponded with Dr Lawrence, appreciative of her genuine feedback on my thesis and ways to improve it. She was the perfect academic role model for me, and a wonderful mentor from the outset, although our relationship just developed naturally and we enjoyed corresponding with one another without the labels of mentor and mentee. I remember distinctly that Dr Lawrence had a way with words and she was always armoured with a graceful and tactful way of providing advice. She was reassuring at first, then encouraging, and then quite direct using sentences like “why don’t you consider submitting research to” or “you know this audience would be quite accepting of this perspective”. Amazingly Elaine never seemed in a rush, and yet somehow she did so much! She always made you feel important in her presence and that she had all the time in the world for you.

In 2003, I had the opportunity to contribute to Dr Lawrence’s best seller, and began work on a number of fresh case studies for the latest edition of Internet Commerce which was in fact Elaine’s second book. Dr Lawrence by then was well aware of the impact of mobile commerce and especially encouraged me to write about this aspect. It was in her text that I published my first ‘academic’ pieces on the chip implantation of humans- I included a full case write-up on Professor Kevin Warwick and the Cyborg 2.0 story. She did not shy away from this research, and had the foresight to see that one day, just maybe, this might directly relate to the way electronic payments were to be conducted. I don’t believe too many others at the time would have accepted to publish such work in the IT world. Elaine would also insist and encourage me to continue to learn how the new ‘electronic commerce’ models might impact society. It did not surprise me to learn later that in 2009 Elaine’s interest into advancements in technology would bring her to the role of Editor-in-Chief for IARIA’s prestigious International Journal of Advanced Life Sciences.

Elaine worked tirelessly on professional community activities. She was one of the first editorial board members chosen for the Journal of Theoretical and Applied Electronic Commerce Research (JTAER) and was one of the first to guest edit a special issue on Mobile Payments doing so for Elsevier’s acclaimed Electronic Commerce Research and Applications (ECRA). In 2003, she was invited to join the International Committee on Mobile Business in Vienna and in 2005 chaired the highly successful 4th International Conference on Mobile Business (ICMB05) hosted in Sydney. It was an absolutely fantastic occasion where hundreds of delegates from across Australia, New Zealand and Asia (and further) turned out. Mobile business was fresh and new, and many of the papers published in that conference via IEEE Xplore and the hardcopy proceedings went on to be downloaded tens of thousands of times each.

One of my fondest memories of Elaine is at this wonderful conference. So much hard work went into it to get it off the ground and the grander vision that went with ICMB. Elaine made sure that all the delegates were well looked after. I recall one Chinese delegate having lost his passport and travellers cheques en route to the conference venue, and Elaine seeing to it that he was given enough money for his stay in Australia and reassured that all would be okay… She looked resplendent in her blue dress on that last day luncheon where awards and initiatives were announced by her. She worked tirelessly, and yet always looked like she had had more time. The evening dinner at the Casa di Nico at Darling Harbour was spectacular- and again Elaine chose an absolutely gorgeous outfit to wear. She was glowing, and so very happy at her fruits… she made this conference happen but in typical Elaine style she would always generously distribute the glory. I later discovered a pattern in her genius- always, always talk about others and never talk about yourself and what you have achieved. This was Elaine’s way—I do remember many times that she highlighted her PhD students and amplified their discoveries before her own. Many of Elaine’s students have gone on to be very successful academics and business men and women… some even heads of schools and owners of their own companies, CEOs, CIOs and the like.

My husband and collaborator, Dr MG Michael presented at ICMB06 in Denmark and had the honour of meeting Dr Lawrence in person and spending some quality time with her. This was again the case at ICMB07 in Toronto, Canada when I was pregnant to my second child. Elaine did not like being photographed very much, but she let Michael take a picture of her because she knew that it would mean a great deal to me. I found this photograph particularly interesting, because it looked identical to those I had seen of Elaine on the Internet- Elaine’s face shows the “human side of humanity”- she always possessed this very honest smile and her eyes were inviting and gentle. One could not feel intimidated in the presence of Dr Lawrence, despite that she had done so very much on the academic side. Not long after ICMB07, Elaine cited uberveillance in a conference paper on pervasive eHealth monitoring systems in a co-authored paper with Frank Kargl, Martin Fischer and Yen Yang Lim. This came as a complete surprise to MG even though the links between us were beginning to emerge strongly over quite some time. Elaine could see how uberveillance would be integral to both wearable and implantable computing for health applications. Despite most people at the time being watchful of uberveillance, Elaine embraced the concept.

In 2003/04 Elaine had begun researching motes, smart dust and body area networks for medical purposes. I recollect corresponding with her and asking what had inspired this investigation. She was way way ahead of the game in terms of her thinking of the next generation of technologies for mHealth, that much was obvious. At this time, Elaine was entrusted with the Directorship of the mHealth Laboratory within the iNEXT Research Centre. In typical Elaine fashion, she drew leading research academics and scholars from Germany, Spain, Canada and Vietnam to work with the Faculty on Wireless Sensor Networks and Health applications. She also created important links for the iNEXT Research Centre with Professor Matt Welsh and his team from Harvard University, Associate Professor Frank Kargl from Twente University in the Netherlands, and Professor Nina Ziv at the University of New York. In 2008 Elaine’s PhD student was awarded her doctorate on the well received, “A Heterogeneous Network Management Approach to Wireless Sensor Networks in Personal Healthcare Environments”. In 2008 and 2009 her master’s students produced theses on ReMoteCare: Health Monitoring with Streaming Video and Portable Emergency Medical Information Systems for Elderly Care. During 2009 she was working on five projects predominantly related to wireless sensor development kits such as Crossbow’s Zigbee MicaZs, Sun’s Java Sunspots and Toumaz’s Digital Plaster. In that same year Elaine completed two large scale ARC-Discovery grants she had attained, one valued at $310,000 on the theme of sensors and actor grids for healthcare. Elaine’s competitive research grants exceeded one million dollars, just in the time frame she was director of the mHealth Laboratory with more than 80 peer reviewed journal and conference papers, and several books. Despite her research success, she always considered herself to be a teacher, renowned for her ability to translate research into quality information technology courseware.

In 2008, despite the very busy workload and pressure she was under as the Head of the newly amalgamated School of Computing and Communications in the Faculty of Engineering and Information Technology at UTS, she agreed to write the foreword of our book on Innovative Automatic Identification and Location Based Services: from bar codes to chip implants. MG and I could think of few people who knew the both of us so well and could additionally trace back the history of our thought as early as 2003. In 2009, when I asked Elaine to be a referee on my promotions application she did so instantaneously being ever so encouraging. In fact, I do not recollect Elaine being someone who said ‘no’ very often…

At about the same time as our book hit the shelves in 2009, Elaine had been the head of school for two years, during a trying period where several departments at UTS were being reorganised. The emphasis on paperwork at that time and bureaucracy ran deep and Elaine being Elaine, she did not cut any corners. In a tribute by a UTS staff member the following was said about her: “Elaine shone in her role as Head of the School of Computing and Communications, formed from the merging of two pre-existing academic units. Elaine projected charisma, gravitas, authoritativeness, compassion, tolerance and genuine affection for all her staff, academic and non academic. Her personality and leadership allowed the merged School to succeed, overcoming reservations and defusing parochialism, empowering a culture of unity and mutual support. It is thanks to Elaine that the School is such a success today.”

On the 14th of December 2009, I contacted Elaine to tell her I had received my promotion to Associate Professor and that MG and I were expecting our third child just after we were to host the IEEE International Symposium on Technology and Society (ISTAS) in 2010. Elaine always loved hearing about children and family. I recollect the many many times that she spoke to me of her beautiful husband John who also co-authored with her on many occasions related to taxation and internet commerce. And of course, she would never tire of talking of the achievements of Sue and Michael, their two children whom she was so so proud of... I cannot tell you how inspiring this was for a young academic starting out… It is sometimes inconceivable to consider that Elaine’s higher research degree journey began when her children were mere toddlers. She loved what she did… It was on sharing my news during this time that Elaine told me the devastating news that she had breast cancer. She wrote in reply: “What fabulous new times - an Ass Pro and a new baby - congratulations on both. This is very exciting. Now for some bad news from me - I have breast cancer… I am not at all impressed. Wish me luck - your news has cheered me up completely…”

After two operations and finally chemotheraphy, she returned to work in April 2010 on a part-time basis and by July was back full-time. The last correspondence she had with MG was one of victory- she was determined not to let this cancer beat her- and she declared herself 100% well. She was still sending conference call for papers at web speed and apologising for the cross-postings as she had thousands of people on her numerous mailing lists. She had brought people together from all over Europe and Asia and Australia and New Zealand and conducted outreach work also in North and South America. In June 2011 she even made it to Slovenia for the annual Bled conference. What many of us did not know however is that in the beginning of that year Elaine had battled a second unrelated cancer, this time ovarian, for which she had to undergo yet another operation and more substantial chemotherapy. On the 18th of September Elaine was admitted to hospital suffering from severe pain, and rested finally on the 18th of October 2011.

This In Memoriam is meant for all those who knew Elaine, as an opportunity to remember her life and works. Wife, mother, teacher, researcher- someone who epitomised dignity in all its forms- Elaine will be missed deeply. She was not only a fine academic but she possessed all those human qualities that made her stand out.

The record from the UTS Vice Chancellor’s Report in November 2011 stated: “We are deeply saddened by the passing away on 18 October of Associate Professor Elaine Lawrence, Head of the School of Computing and Communications in the Faculty of Engineering and Information Technology. Elaine has been a committed and valued member of the UTS family since 1990, and a true leader in Females in Engineering and Information Technology (FEIT). She is survived by her husband, John, and children Susie and Michael, and will be greatly missed by her friends at UTS.”

Citation: Katina Michael, April 1, 2012, "Editorial: In Memoriam of Associate Professor Dr Elaine Lawrence", Journal of Theoretical and Applied Electronic Commerce Research,, April 2012.

Email Correspondence about this In Memoriam

On the 3rd of September 2019, I received the following email from one of Elaine’s former students. I asked permission to post this without his real name.

Hi Katina - thanks for connecting.

In the last couple of days, I googled looking for Dr. Deidre Cobbin & Dr. Elaine Lawrence and was saddened to learn that both these beautiful souls have left us. Both these wonderful & kind ladies taught and guided me when I did my undergraduate degree at UTS (Kuringai campus). Had it not been for these two wonderful souls, I would have dropped out because I was struggling as a matured aged student.

Your "in memoriam" article on Dr. Elaine brought back so much fond memories because I am very familiar with her tone and mannerisms. After I graduated, I was struggling to find work in the IT space. My hundreds of applications and numerous interviews netted me nothing. Out of necessity ie put food on the table, I worked part-time at the print and photocopy shop within the Kuringai campus grounds. One day, Dr.Elaine ran into me whilst I was refilling paper for a printer in the library. She asked me what was i still doing at the campus 6 months after graduation. She was shocked that I had not found an IT job and she expressed her regret about my predicament. About a week later, Dr. Elaine came hurriedly down the hallway calling out my name "Varun Varun". She walked me into the library and took out a stack of IT related books on her card and handed them to me. She asked me to read all of them over the weekend. She had prearranged for me to call and attend an interview with a potential employer in the following week on the Monday. I got in for the interview as arranged on Monday.

The first thing my potential employers told me after shaking my hands was "the job is yours. Now tell us something more about yourself - you come very highly recommended". That's how I got my first break after graduating !! Dr.Elaine was elated!! I am forever grateful for her kindness. Prof, thanks for writing that beautiful article about Dr.Elaine. I am sad that she is no more but you portrayed her so beautifully. I miss her even more now!! Thank you for giving me the opportunity to express these thoughts and feelings!! I hope that you will pardon my mistakes (written). I pray that you and your family will be safe in America 🙏 Cheers Varun

After 5 Years



After Five Years Increasingly journals are using a variety of measures to benchmark the quality of their publications. Upon reflection one can source numerous statistics from reliable sources to find key indicators that showcase both the breadth and depth of relevance of a journal within a global academic and industry community of practice. We thought it especially important to present some key indicators in this editorial, which will illustrate both the impact the journal has had over the last five years, and the positive course it is on in the next five years. These figures are a celebration not only for the editorial board and review board but for the many individual researchers who have painstakingly undertaken their research and sought to publish in the journal, despite its relative infancy. May these indicators continue to attract more international contributors as we seek to build on the robust foundations laid in the first five years. In the next five years, we will focus on maintaining the academic rigor displayed to date, while making it even easier for authors to submit their manuscripts and track their papers through the review process online. Since its inception, the Journal of Theoretical and Applied Electronic Commerce Research (JTAER) has had a citation count that is comparable to the first four years reflected by other electronic commerce (EC) centric journals in the Scopus data base. To this end JTAER can claim that it is on a similar trajectory to the other electronic commerce journals that preceded it. JTAER was included in the Scopus data base in 2008.

Table 1 shows the number of JTAER citations significantly rising particularly after the journal’s inclusion in the Scopus data base. On average the journal publishes about 22 papers per annum. The partial count from the 2011 Scopus data base indicated in July that 32 citations had already been recorded for JTAER. Please note that the SNIP and SJR for 2010 were last updated in September 2010. In the Scopus data base JTAER’s h-index is 8. This is one of several indicators that will continue to strengthen over the short-term. While the h-index is not often favorable to newly established journals, in this instance 8 is a good starting point from which to work on [1].

Authors per Country

The global appeal of JTAER is demonstrated by the breadth of the authors’ affiliations and countries. There have been two-hundred and fifty authors from thirty-two countries who have had their work published in JTAER, indicating that the journal has reached a global audience, and its relevance is sustained despite national administrative boundaries. The number of authors from each country can be found in Figure 1.

Journal’s Website Statistics

JTAER’s website has a new section labeled Statistics, where you will be able to find the following report options: • Downloads per year • Ranking of Articles by Downloads • Search per Author/Article • Scopus Citations • Google Scholar Citations

The Downloads per year option provides statistics about the number of downloads from JTAER’s website in a calendar year. Clicking on a particular year, allows one to obtain the number of downloads for each month of that selected year. The Ranking of Articles by Downloads option shows the published article ranked by the total number of downloads. Those articles with the greater number of downloads will be listed first. There is also the additional option of specifying a particular date period to obtain a ranking. The Search per Author/Article option helps you to initiate a search for a published article title or an author surname. In both cases, this option will show the number of downloads, the Scopus citations and the Google scholar citations. The Scopus citations option shows a ranking of published articles based on the Scopus citations, indicating the citations per article. The Google scholar citations option shows a ranking of published articles based on the Google scholar citations, indicating the citations per article. All of these features should enable authors, researchers, and practitioners to gain access to valuable statistics for a variety of purposes, including career development evidence, reviews of literature, and impact analysis by paper. As we continue to attract funding for our innovative online journal portal, even more features will be added. Please write to the Editor in Chief with suggestions you might have to build further feature-rich tools on the JTAER web site.

Best Reviewer of the Year 2010 Award

We are pleased to announce that the Journal of Theoretical and Applied Electronic Commerce Research’s Best Reviewers for the year 2010 are:

• Dr. Antonio Ruiz-Martinez of the Department of Information and Communications Engineering, Faculty of Computer Sciences, University of Murcia, Spain.

• Dr. Carlos Orús of the Department of Marketing Management and Market Research, Faculty of Economics and Business Studies, University of Zaragoza, Spain.

• Dr. Karin Axelsson of the Department of Management and Engineering, Faculty of Arts and Sciences, Linköping University, Sweden.

• Dr. Ygal Bendavid of the School of Management, Department of Management & Technology, Université du Québec à Montréal (UQAM), Canada.

These four researchers have frequently served the Journal of Theoretical and Applied Electronic Commerce Research in a reviewing capacity, and the Editor-in-Chief and Co-Editors have regarded their review reports as outstanding. The criteria used to select the best reviewers of year 2010 were: the presentation and clarity; relevance; accuracy; appropriateness; consistency and contribution of the feedback provided to authors.

On behalf of the Journal of Theoretical and Applied Electronic Commerce Research, we would like to extend to Antonio, Carlos, Karin, and Ygal our congratulations on their achievement and our thanks for the contributions they have made to reviewing in our journal. We would like to give an extra special congratulation to Karin, Antonio and Carlos, who have obtained the best reviewer award for the second time.

Coming Special Issue

We have currently one special issue planned for 2012. The August issue will be dedicated to Qualitative Approaches to eMarketing and Online Consumer Behaviour and will be guest edited by Inma Rodríguez-Ardura (University of Oxford), Gerard Ryan (Universitat Rovira i Virgili), and Ulrike Gretzel (University of Wollongong). Full manuscript submissions will be accepted until the 30th of November 2011 and the deadline for final acceptance notification is the 15th of April 2012. Please see the Call for Paper for more information.

Narciso Cerpa Editor-in-Chief

Katina Michael Technical Editor Journal of Theoretical and Applied Electronic Commerce Research August 2011


[1] J. E. Hirsch, An index to quantify an individual's scientific research output, PNAS, vol. 102, no. 46, pp. 16569– 16572, 2005.


Citation: Narciso Cerpa Torres and Katina Michael, 2011, "After Five Years", Journal of Theoretical and Applied Electronic Commerce Research, Vol. 6, No. 2,, ISSN 0718–1876 Electronic Version, AUGUST 2011 / I-IV, © 2011 Universidad de Talca - Chile.