Understanding and Optimizing Choice architectures for Privacy and Security

Choice architectures, the design of interfaces in which choices are presented to users, have a tremendous effect on people’s decisions. Even subtle changes in the choice architecture, such as the selection of default options, can significantly alter the decisions of users, nudging them to specific directions, and even change the way they perceive their possibilities. In this talk, we will discuss several studies that analyzed and optimized choice architectures to enhance users’ privacy and security decisions. We will start by reviewing the relationship between the economic view of choice architecture and the design of actual user interfaces for making choices in the context of data privacy and security. We will introduce concepts such as population coverage and fairness that quantitatively model the choice architecture, and see how these concepts can be used to empirically analyze systems such as social networks and security warning systems. Finally, we will learn how choice architectures can be optimized to reflect users’ actual preferences, and how we can effectively nudge users towards a more secure behavior.

Social Network Privacy and Data Permanency

Lately, our attention is drawn to the privacy challenges posed by social networks, and especially to the role of people’s consent and control. In this lecture, we will try to unpack this issue by discussing several studies that unpack the fact that social network information is permanent and can be accessed indefinitely. The studies take an empirical approach, comprising of more than 600 participants altogether. We discuss the results by framing digital memory in privacy theories and suggest several new mechanisms that can help users gain effective and long-term control over their privacy.