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What About My Privacy? Helping Users Understand Online Privacy Policies

authored by
Wasja Brunotte, Larissa Chazette, Lukas Köhler, Jil Ann-Christin Klünder, Kurt Schneider

Software systems have become an integral part of our daily lives. However, users tend to forget that they are not only consuming information, but also delivering personal information to service providers. This data collection means that users' privacy sphere is increasingly at stake. Informing users about what and how data is collected is pivotal for reaching transparency, trustworthiness, and ethics in modern systems. The main purpose of privacy policies is to inform users about what happens to their personal data. But instead they are extensive and purposefully obfuscating. Information about data practices are hidden in long and ambiguous text passages. To mitigate this, in this paper, we present a concept implemented as a web extension to support the end-user in dealing with privacy policies by providing easier access and visual explanations to privacy-related information. We evaluated the usefulness of our tool in a user study with 65 participants. The results show that our approach helps users to find a privacy policy faster and also supports users to better comprehend the relevant information. Our tool is a first step towards facilitating to deal with privacy policies from the end-user perspective. The results of the study and the positive feedback from the participants show a high degree of acceptance and potential for the tool to increase users' privacy awareness.

Software Engineering Section
PhoenixD: Photonics, Optics, and Engineering - Innovation Across Disciplines
Conference contribution
No. of pages
Publication date
Publication status
Peer reviewed
ASJC Scopus subject areas
Software, Human-Computer Interaction, Computer Vision and Pattern Recognition, Computer Networks and Communications
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