CyLab Seminar: Usable Privacy and Security

Time: October 3, 2011 - 12:00 PM - 1:00 PM

Location: CIC Building


All CyLab seminars start at noon and are held in the Collaborative Innovation Center (CIC) building in Pittsburgh. Seminars are open to faculty, students, staff and general public.

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Speaker: Lorrie Cranor

Talk Abstract: With growing recognition that website privacy policies are failing consumers, suggestions are emerging for technical mechanisms that would provide privacy notices in machine-readable form, allowing web browsers, mobile devices, and other tools to act on them automatically and distill them into simple icons for end users. Other proposals are focused on allowing users to signal to websites, through their web browsers, that they do not wish to be tracked. Industry organizations have brought us web sites where users can opt-out of behavioral advertising by their member companies, and a number of software vendors and open source developers are distributing tools that help users block cookies, trackers, or advertising. Facilitating transparency and control through easily recognizable symbols and software privacy controls are laudable goals. However, after 15 years of industry attempts at providing privacy "notice and choice," we still have a dearth of usable and effective tools that empower consumers to make meaningful privacy choices. In this talk I will review a number of the proposals and tools that have emerged over the past 15 years, including the Platform for Privacy Preferences (P3P), a variety of privacy icons, opt-out cookies, and Do Not Track. I'll talk about the lessons we learned from P3P and how they may serve to inform current policy discussions. I'll also report on some of our research assessing the usability and effectiveness of consumer privacy tools.