The project studies the impact of privacy interventions on the online publishing industry. Widespread concerns over online privacy have led governments worldwide to enact new privacy regulations and have compelled firms to implement self-regulatory data-protection initiatives. While such privacy interventions are often positively received by the public, industry stakeholders have suggested that privacy interventions may reduce the availability of free, ad-supported online content and services. Online publishers and their ability to provide content play a crucial role in democratic societies. The project integrates technical, organizational, behavioral, and economic studies to investigate how the implementation of privacy interventions impacts publishers, their users, and various downstream economic outcomes. The project aims at providing insights for scholars, policy makers, and practitioners toward understanding and designing effective privacy interventions without endangering digital products and services. The project leverages collaborations with media companies granting access to data from a large set of heterogeneous websites. The novel contributions of the project include: 1) the investigation of factors influencing publishers’ compliance with privacy interventions; 2) the creation of an open auditing API for automated remote compliance auditing of publishers’ systems; 3) the analysis of users’ responses to privacy mechanisms to understand the extent to which privacy initiatives translate into usable tools for users; 4) the investigation of the impact of privacy implementations on user engagement and experience; 5) the investigation of how the implementation of privacy initiatives affects publishers’ revenues from online advertising; and 6) the investigation of how the gains from user data are allocated across the stakeholders in the online publishing ecosystem in the presence of privacy initiatives. The collaboration with media companies enables quick transfer of research findings to the industry. The results of the research are incorporated in courses on online privacy and its impact on publishers and society.This award reflects NSF's statutory mission and has been deemed worthy of support through evaluation using the Foundation's intellectual merit and broader impacts review criteria.
|Effective start/end date||2/15/23 → 1/31/26|
- National Science Foundation: $600,000.00
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