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University of Michigan School of Information


Florian Schaub presents privacy research at CCC Symposium

Monday, 10/02/2017

Florian Schaub has become an expert in privacy policies and privacy controls: what they are like today, why they don’t work, and how to fix them. 

Schaub has been invited to present his research on usable privacy notices and controls at a poster reception for the prestigious Computing Community Consortium (CCC) symposium, “Computing Research: Addressing National Priorities and Societal Needs.” The event is scheduled Oct. 23-24 in Washington D.C. 

The symposium’s overall mission is to inform and shape the future of the computer science research agenda in the United States. Schaub’s research specifically addresses one of the symposium’s themes, “Security and Privacy for Democracy.” 

“Privacy policies need to be relevant, understandable, and actionable,” Schaub says. One of the ways to make this happen, his research has shown, is to “distinguish between privacy policies which are for companies and regulators, and user-facing notices aimed at consumers, and by designing less complex privacy controls that support users in managing their privacy,” Schaub says. 

“We’re currently pretending that privacy policies do both, which is just not the case.”

This is Schaub’s first presentation at an invitation-only CCC symposium. It will provide a forum for his message that privacy notices must be reformed to be effective. This is crucial, especially in today’s tech-heavy society.

 “Awareness of privacy risks, communicating privacy information, and usable privacy controls,” he says, “are important topics to facilitate safe and protected use of new technologies for everyone. 

“There are many cases where researchers have developed fantastic privacy-enhanced, or security technologies that are never used by anyone, or just small technical groups. This is because these technological designs lack usability and consideration of context of use and other human factors,” he says.

The CCC symposium will be the second of two presentations by Schaub this fall. On September 22, he spoke at the “Law + Design = Summit” conference held at Stanford University. 

That event focused on the question, “What would a human-centered legal system look like?”  Schaub’s presentation was entitled, “Designing Effective Privacy Notices and Controls,” the topic of one of his research studies on privacy policies.

- UMSI News Service