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Examining the Content and Privacy of Web Browsing Incidental Information

  • Kirstie Hawkey, Faculty of Computer Science, Dalhousie University , Canada
  • Kori M. Inkpen, Faculty of Computer Science, Dalhousie University , Canada

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Track: Browsers and User Interfaces

Slot: 14:00-15:30, Wednesday 24th May

This research examines the privacy comfort levels of participants if others can view traces of their web browsing activity. During a week-long field study, participants used an electronic diary daily to annotate each web page visited with a privacy level. Content categories were used by participants to theoretically specify their privacy comfort for each category and by researchers to partition participants' actual browsing. The content categories were clustered into groups based on the dominant privacy levels applied to the pages. Inconsistencies between participants in their privacy ratings of categories suggest that a general privacy management scheme is inappropriate. Participants' consistency within categories suggests that a personalized scheme may be feasible; however a more fine-grained approach to classification is required to improve results for sites that tend to be general, of multiple task purposes, or dynamic in content.

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