Blase Ur

Co-Sponsoring with S3D

*Please note that CyLab seminars are closed to the public and open to CyLab partners and Carnegie Mellon University faculty, students and staff.

Speaker: Blase Ur, Assistant Professor at University of Chicago

Title: Improving Transparency and Data Access Rights for Targeted Advertising

Advertising networks collect extensive data about consumers, making inferences about their interests, demographics, and more to enable highly targeted advertising. This talk will discuss a series of recent projects aimed to improve consumers' understanding of these practices and their consequences. I will first discuss Tracking Transparency, a browser extension prototype we have developed to give consumers a more comprehensive view of the extent and implications of data collection for advertising purposes. I will next present a deception-based user study we conducted to understand consumers' reactions to data being recontextualized to provide highly personalized advertising. While participants found this practice creepy, it surprisingly did not impact their subsequent information-disclosure decisions. The remainder of the talk will focus on subject data access rights, or consumers' ability to download a copy of the personal data a company holds about them. I will highlight how having 231 consumers download their own Twitter data and share it with us provided insight into the current ecosystem of targeted ads and existing transparency mechanisms. I will conclude with our ongoing work aiming to make data-access rights more useful and informative for consumers.

Blase Ur is Neubauer Family Assistant Professor of Computer Science at the University of Chicago, where he researches security, privacy, human-computer interaction, and ethical AI. He is part of the UChicago SUPERgroup, which uses data-driven methods to help users make better security and privacy decisions, as well as to improve the usability of complex computer systems. He has received an NSF CAREER Award (2021), three best paper awards, five honorable mention paper awards, and UChicago's Quantrell Award for undergraduate teaching (2021). He holds degrees from Carnegie Mellon University (PhD and MS) and Harvard University (AB). He also enjoys bicycles, cacti/succulents, and punk rock.