Software Research Seminar

  • Remote Access Enabled - Zoom
  • Virtual Presentation
  • Ph.D. Students
  • Ph.D. Program in Software Engineering
  • Institute for Software Research, Carnegie Mellon University

1. Leading an Identities Course 2.Managing Intrusive Practices In The Browser: A User-Centered Perspective

Leo Chen
Leading an Identities Course

⇒  In this talk, I will be presenting the course structure for a seminar-style course in the Spring that I have been planning with another student. This course is centered on exploring our own identities and how they've shaped our experience with the rest of the world.


Daniel Smullen
Managing Intrusive Practices In The Browser: A User-Centered Perspective

⇒  Web users encounter an array of intrusive practices, from behavioral profiling, to crypto-mining, fingerprinting, and more. We explore people's awareness and understanding of these practices. We look at the extent to which people feel they receive adequate notification about these practices and have adequate control over them. Our mixed-methods study uses qualitative (n=184) and quantitative (n=1021) surveys to examine these issues across neutrally defined categories of intrusive practices (referred to as ``web technologies''). We present subjects with both potential benefits and risks associated with these practices. While people express diverse views, a significant majority want to be notified about and restrict the practices we study. Many users mistakenly believe that mechanisms exist to help them. At the same time, we find that people generally do not know how to identify the presence of intrusive practices, or how to restrict them; unsurprising given that such mechanisms are typically non-existent. Our analysis further reveals that people's individual expectations and preferences extend across entire categories of websites. Current website-specific settings to control intrusive practices, if at all available, impose unnecessarily burdensome requirements on users. User preferences would be more effectively captured if control mechanisms allowed browsers to mediate interactions with website settings. Our findings argue for browser-based mechanisms to both notify users and enable them to control intrusive practices. Such an approach would have the advantage of providing a single uniform interface to support notification, control and would also help mitigate dark patterns. We discuss the regulatory implications of these findings.

Zoom Participation. See announcement.

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