Privacy Critics

TitlePrivacy Critics
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication1999
AuthorsAckerman, M. S., and L. F. Cranor
JournalWEB Techniques
KeywordsData privacy, E-commerce, Electronic commerce, Information resources, Information use, Internet users, Legal privacy protection, Online privacy, Personal information, Semi-autonomous agents, Social aspects of automation, Usability issues, W3C Platform for Privacy Preferences Project, Web sites, Web-based transactions

Online privacy is a growing problem for Internet users. Privacy concerns come in many shapes and sizes, but one important concern is the unanticipated release and subsequent use or misuse of personal information from Web-based transactions. People want to control their personal information-to release only desired information at the proper time. Losing control over one's personal data can be very disconcerting. Internet users don't know much about how the information they release online will be used. Users who want to engage in e-commerce must often release personal information to complete transactions. However, few Web sites explain how that information will be used or whether it will be linked with other personal information, and in many countries, few legal privacy protections exist. Users would benefit from systems to help them identify situations in which their privacy might be at risk. However, many aspects of privacy make it difficult to design usable and useful systems to safeguard different kinds of users. These usability issues have led us to construct privacy critics, which are semi-autonomous agents that help users protect their private information. These critics currently work with the W3C's Platform for Privacy Preferences Project.

Alternate JournalWEB Tech. (USA)