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Smart, Useful, Scary, Creepy:. Perceptions of Online Behavioral Advertising . Privacy Concerns. OBA = Online Behavioral Advertising According to the U.S. Federal Trade Commission: Data collection can be sneaky Privacy notices are not easy to understand

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smart useful scary creepy

Smart, Useful, Scary, Creepy:

Perceptions of Online Behavioral Advertising

privacy concerns
Privacy Concerns
  • OBA = Online Behavioral Advertising
    • According to the U.S. Federal Trade Commission:
  • Data collection can be sneaky
  • Privacy notices are not easy to understand
  • User profiles are potentially too detailed
    • Could be uniquely identifiable
  • Profiles could contain sensitive data
    • Info about health, finances, children
  • Users do not understand how OBA works
    • Many misconceptions about how and what data is collected
    • Misunderstand the role of advertising networks
  • Users are unaware of the control they have over their own privacy regarding OBA
    • Users misinterpret the warning signs of OBA
    • Users misconstrue how to control the monitoring of their behavior
  • Solution:
    • Understand how internet consumers perceive OBA to better inform them and protect their privacy by employing more effective Notice and Choice mechanisms
what oba is and how it works
What OBA Is and How It Works
  • Goal:
    • to construct a profile of an Internet user using his or her browsing habits used in targeted advertising
  • Data:
    • visible content from the site a user is visiting explicitly, and invisible content from a third-party that has a relationship with the visited website
  • Third parties:
    • advertising networks, analytics companies, social networks
  • How:
    • A cookie identifies a user across partner sites to track browsing history
users impressions of internet advertising
Users’ Impressions of Internet Advertising
  • Negative:
    • Annoying, unnecessary, distracting, interfering
    • Associated with pop-ups
    • Unfounded fears
  • Useful:
    • Helped users find new products
    • Helps fund free services
users impressions on how oba works
Users’ Impressions on How OBA Works
  • Based on browsing history and web searches
  • Hoped actual monitoring is hypothetical
  • Some aware of cookies but don’t understand details
  • Believed data like purchase history could be bought
  • Some thought that interaction with the ad was necessary
  • Targeted advertising only happens on websites like Facebook, Gmail, or Amazon
    • Customization is good
    • Privacy invasion is bad
oba icons
OBA Icons
  • Goal: inform users that their data is being collected
  • Users’ perceptions
    • Many had never seen the icons before, even when shown in context with advertisements
    • Some felt that icons meant “internet based ads” or represented “great deals online”
    • No one realized what the icons were actually trying to tell them
    • Some thought they allowed users to choose what type of ads they would receive
    • Some thought that clicking on the icon would let them tell the advertisers about their interests, perhaps providing a list of subjects
oba icons continued
OBA Icons continued…
  • Users’ perceptions
    • Solicited companies to buy an ad
    • Clicking would lead to pop-ups
    • Clicking would yield more information about currently advertised product or expand the advertisement
    • Clicking would allow advertisers to track the user
    • Meant to legitimize the ad and distinguish it from the page content
  • Result: ineffective
users oba pros
Users’ OBA Pros

After being informed, users concluded:

  • Help users find things they are interested in
  • Provide a more relevant and interesting internet experience
  • Help users save money by finding deals
  • Advertisers can make more money by targeting the right users
  • Website that host OBA can make more money
users oba cons
Users’ OBA Cons

After being informed, users concluded:

  • The idea that they could be monitored is creepy
  • Concerning that this observation is silent
  • Uncomfortable that third parties put “things” on their computers without explicit permission
  • Offended by being stereotyped by advertisers because online activity is not an accurate representation of a person
    • Ex: research
users oba cons continued
Users’ OBA Cons continued…
  • Uncomfortable that clicking something on accident or someone else using their computer is included in their profile
  • Insecure: what else can people learn about them through their computers?
    • Many believed that advertisers have access to personally identifiable information which can be given to another party and/or used maliciously
  • Equivalent to someone following you around watching everything you do
    • Changes your behavior if you know you’re being watched
who does the collecting matters
Who Does the Collecting Matters
  • Familiar company Google vs. unfamiliar company BlueKai
    • Users trust that Google is not mal-intentioned
  • A company with too much user information
    • Google collecting info can help in search but need to be careful when drawing the line because they also manage email and documents
  • Reputation as a viable corporation
    • Yahoo and AOL not trustworthy because they are not as financially stable and may do unpredictable things with users’ data in desperation
    • Microsoft is untrustworthy because people don’t like their products
users methods to stop oba
Users’ Methods to Stop OBA
  • Delete browsing history: cookies and cache
  • Depend on computer security tools
    • anti-virus and anti-spyware programs, firewalls, proxies, Linux
  • Web browser should support controlling OBA
    • Private browsing
    • Unaware of plugins or specific software
  • Ignore the ads
    • Ad-blocking software, unsubscribing from emails
    • Never clicking on ads
  • Websites should be able to stop OBA
    • Unsure if they exist but they should oversee online marketing
  • None were aware of self-regulatory websites, opt-out programs, or “Do Not Track”
users conclusions
Users’ Conclusions
  • Mixed bag
    • OBA can help users find deals when planning a vacation, but advertisers can know when the consumers aren’t home
  • OBA is okay situationally
    • Reading the news vs. researching STD symptoms
  • Desired solutions
    • Less distracting and interfering advertising
    • Explicit user feedback: Have companies inquire about user interests as opposed to collecting user behavior
    • More awareness of how everything works
notice and choice
Notice and Choice
  • Industry self-regulation
    • Digital Advertising Alliance (DAA)
    • Network Advertising Initiative (NAI)
  • Goal: give users notice about OBA and the choice to opt-out so they have more control over their privacy
  • DAA principles:
    • Consumer Control
      • Opt-out of targeted advertisements
    • Transparency
      • Advertising option icon
more effective notice and choice
More Effective Notice and Choice
  • Better communicate that icons and text signals are meant for customers and are not solicitations for advertisers
  • Change location so that icon does not seem like part of the ad that could provide more information
  • Give users more choices to meet their expectations
    • Users believed that they could make choices about the types of ads they could receive, and they should be able to specify interest categories or correct incorrect profiles
  • Create different opt-out methods or better inform users about current opt-out methods
    • Many believed in simply deleting their cookies, but that would actually counteract opt-out cookie mechanisms
    • Current methods, such as clicking on the icon or visiting another website, are counterintuitive
more effective notice and choice cont
More Effective Notice and Choice cont…
  • Better inform users of how tracking occurs whether or not they interact with the advertisement
    • Users instinctively avoid clicking on ads to avoid being tracked, but that is currently how they can control OBA
  • Emphasize the difference between security and privacy
    • Inform users that OBA is not related to viruses
  • Stress the difference between company services and advertising
    • The Windows OS is different from Microsoft Advertising, so users should not make decisions based on companies’ products.
  • Allow for more situational OBA
    • OBA can be more or less appropriate depending on the browsing context, for both privacy reasons and usefulness.
    • Users should be able to specify which topics are available for data collection.
  • Encourage browsers to meet user expectation or make users aware of current browser tools
  • Most users are partially or fully against OBA
    • “smart but creepy”
    • OBA is not as dangerous as users think it is
  • Attitudes influenced by:
    • Incorrect assumptions of what and how much data is collected
    • Misunderstanding of the parties involved in OBA and how they operate
    • Misconstruing the profiling technology
  • Current notice and choice methods are failing
    • Users should be properly informed of the practice of tailoring advertising
    • Users should be aware of how to control OBA
  • Current methods to control OBA are limited and difficult to use
  • Users’ understanding of OBA need to be considered in notice and choice mechanisms