Providing Users Data-Driven Privacy Awareness by Blase Ur (Carnegie Mellon University) DTL 2015 Grantee

Online behavioral advertising (OBA), the targeting of advertisements based on a user’s web browsing, remains a major source of privacy invasion. Although a number of privacy tools (e.g., Ghostery, Lightbeam, and Privacy Badger) can help users control OBA, average users are left utterly confused about OBA even after using such tools. We propose moving beyond existing tools, which alert users to tracking occurring at the current moment, by designing and testing a tool that takes a data-driven, personalized approach to privacy awareness. We hypothesize that users can better understand OBA and resultant privacy threats if equipped with a tool that visualizes instances of them being tracked over time.

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