With the advent of smartphones and online sharing platforms, including social networks, individuals share increasing amounts of personal data online. Sharing personal data online has privacy consequences for the users who share it, but also for the individuals who are directly or indirectly related to the shared data (e.g., individuals who appear on a photo); this constitutes privacy violations which severity spans from innocuous photo sharing to revenge pornography. To address such privacy issues, researchers have proposed (among other technical and non-technical solutions) the use of so-called privacy nudges, essentially mechanisms to influence individuals towards more privacy-preserving behaviors, typically to dissuade individuals to share personal data that would have severe implications on their privacy and life in general. Yet, to date, such mechanisms have not been considered to address privacy violations committed by individuals against other individuals.
The goal of this project is to explore the use of nudges to dissuade individuals from sharing online, in a non-consensual way, personal data that can have privacy implications for other individuals. We will design and test the effectiveness of several technological interventions that will discourage uploaders from sharing personal data without the consent of all the other parties involved.
We will design and test nudges in the form of messages displayed to users during the process of sharing content on an online platform. Possible approaches include (but are not limited to): (i) threats of punishments confined on the platform that possibly rely on its social aspects, (ii) threats of punishment outside of the platform, (iii) empathic triggers raising awareness and generating reflection about the consequences of the user’s actions for the victims. In order to design such messages, we will take a data-centric approach and involve individuals through pre-tests, user surveys and user experiments. Another contribution of this project is to survey existing mechanisms for privacy violations committed by individuals and compare them.