Veerle van Harten, Master student
Sociology, University of Amsterdam (UvA), Netherlands

Welcome to my website. This website marks the end of my master’s in sociology. Under the guidance of the late Dr. Albert Benschop, I wrote a thesis on trust in Internet technology which was originally written in Dutch under the title ‘Vertrouwen in op afstand bestuurbare medische implantaten’. My topic focuses on trust in medical implants that work on a wireless network (pacemakers, ICDs, and insulin pumps) and in particular the ideas of the possibility to hack such implants. This concept of hacking is not only focused on possible access to the medical information of patients by unauthorized third parties, but also on hacking in such a way that medical implants no longer function properly. I examine how patients think about the safety and potential risks of their medical implants. Doctors, manufacturers, and security experts are also interviewed. In this way, it is possible to place the trusting attitude of patients in a broader social framework.

I derived great pleasure in doing this research and noticed that my enthusiasm has increased after working on this thesis for the past six months. I, therefore, would like to continue in this field. The STIN-journal (ICD carriers Foundation Netherlands) agreed to publish the results of my research in October 2013.

The thesis would not have been possible without the help of others, for which I am very grateful. First, I would like to thank the respondent for the time and effort that they have taken in completing the survey and their participation in the interviews. Secondly, I would like to thank STIN for the opportunity to publish the results of this research in their journal (you can find the translation of this article on my website: Veerlevanharten.nl). I would also like to thank my thesis supervisor Albert Benschop for his support and involvement in the writing of this thesis. His enthusiasm and expertise in the field of cybercrime have an inspiring effect. I would like to thank Chip Huisman as my second counselor for his clear and constructive feedback. Finally, I would like to thank my father, H. J. van Harten, and my boyfriend, Maikel Bosschaert. My dad has been a great source of inspiration who helped to pick this topic. As a person with diabetes, he got the option to use an insulin pump, which was also the reason for me to learn more about this subject. I want to thank my boyfriend for his support over the past six months in the writing of this thesis.