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A Visualization Framework for Self-Monitoring of Web-Based Information Disclosure

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3 Author(s)
Abdullah, K. ; Commun. Syst. Center, Georgia Inst. of Technol., Atlanta, GA ; Conti, G. ; Beyah, R.

Free online tools such as search, email and mapping come with a hidden cost. Web users obtain such services by making micropayments of personal and organizational information to the Web service providers. Web companies use this information to create customized advertising and tailored user experiences. Individually, each transaction appears innocuous, but when aggregated, the result is often highly sensitive. The impact of AOL's inadvertent disclosure of 20 million nominally anonymized search queries underscores the pressing need for increasing Web privacy and raising user awareness of the problem. Rather than advocate extreme legal and policy measures to address the dilemma, this paper proposes an equitable self- monitoring solution. Self-monitoring allows individual users and large enterprises to regulate their Web-based interactions intelligently and still allow online companies to innovate and flourish. The primary contributions of our work include exploration of visualization techniques that support self-monitoring based on a user requirements survey, a human-centric evaluation, and a Firefox extension based on one of the visual monitoring solutions developed.

Published in:

Communications, 2008. ICC '08. IEEE International Conference on

Date of Conference:

19-23 May 2008