Alessandro Acquisti

Alessandro Acquisti
Carnegie Mellon University | CMU · H. John Heinz III College

About

169
Publications
89,647
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19,592
Citations

Publications

Publications (169)
Article
Full-text available
Browsing privacy tools can help people protect their digital privacy. However, tools which provide the strongest protections—such as Tor Browser—have struggled to achieve widespread adoption. This may be due to usability challenges, misconceptions, behavioral biases, or mere lack of awareness. In this study, we test the effectiveness of nudging int...
Article
Continued expansion of human activities into digital realms gives rise to concerns about digital privacy and its invasions, often expressed in terms of data rights and internet surveillance. It may thus be tempting to construe privacy as a modern phenomenon—something our ancestors lacked and technological innovation and urban growth made possible....
Chapter
There are diverse streams of empirical research attempting to study complex privacy behaviors in different scenarios. In this chapter, we connect those streams and present them under three themes: (1) individuals’ uncertainty about their own preferences as well as their uncertainty about the consequences of information disclosure; (2) the context-d...
Article
We analyze the welfare implications of consumer data sharing, and restrictions to that sharing, in the context of online targeted advertising. Targeting technologies offer firms the ability to reach desired audiences through intermediary platforms. The platforms run auctions in real time to display ads on internet sites, leveraging consumers’ perso...
Article
Full-text available
Privacy and security tools can help users protect themselves online. Unfortunately, people are often unaware of such tools, and have potentially harmful misconceptions about the protections provided by the tools they know about. Effectively encouraging the adoption of privacy tools requires insights into people’s tool awareness and understanding. T...
Article
Full-text available
We review different streams of social science literature on privacy with the goal of understanding consumer privacy decision making and deriving implications for policy. We focus on psychological and economic factors influencing both consumers' desire and consumers' ability to protect their privacy, either through individual action or through the i...
Article
We had thought that our piece presented about as bleak a picture of the current privacy climate as could be imagined. These three superb commentaries, however, suggest that we may have fallen short of plumbing the depths of the current problem. Yet, if they are, possibly, even more despairing than we are about the current state of affairs, we read...
Preprint
Full-text available
We present the results of a study designed to measure the impact of interruptive advertising on consumers willingness to pay for products bearing the advertiser's brand. Subjects participating in a controlled experiment were exposed to ads that diverted their attention from a computer game they were testing. We found that ads significantly lowered...
Article
This special Issue of Information Systems Frontiers, dedicated to the memory of H. Jeff Smith (Keil et al. 2019), contains a selection of manuscripts originally accepted for the ICIS 2018 track on Cyber Security, Privacy and Ethics of IS. Authors of all manuscripts accepted into the ICIS track were invited to submit revised versions of their manusc...
Conference Paper
Full-text available
While the effectiveness of nudges in influencing user behavior has been documented within the literature, most prior work in the privacy field has focused on 'one-size-fits-all' interventions. Recent behavioral research has identified the potential of tailoring nudges to users by leveraging individual differences in decision making and personality....
Article
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We investigate whether personal information posted by job candidates on social media sites is sought and used by prospective employers. We create profiles for job candidates on popular social networks, manipulating information protected under U.S. laws, and submit job applications on their behalf to over 4,000 employers. We find evidence of employe...
Article
For consumers, managing privacy online is a continuous, complex process of interrelated choices. Increasingly, this process may be conceived of as “cascaded,” in that a combination of upstream and downstream choices together determine some ultimate privacy outcome and its associated benefits and costs. For example, on social networks, individuals s...
Article
Full-text available
The U.S. Computer Fraud and Abuse Act (CFAA)1 is not a popular law. Enacted in 1986 to deal with the nascent computer crimes of that era, it has aged badly. It has been widely criticized as vague, poorly structured, and having an overly broad definition of loss that invites prosecutorial abuse. The purpose of this piece is to explore that potentia...
Article
When card data is exposed in a data breach but has not yet been used to attempt fraud, the overall social costs of that breach depend on whether the financial institutions that issued those cards immediately cancel them and issue new cards or instead wait until fraud is attempted. This article empirically investigates the social costs and benefits...
Article
Advancements in information technology often task users with complex and consequential privacy and security decisions. A growing body of research has investigated individuals’ choices in the presence of privacy and information security trade-offs, the decision making hurdles affecting those choices, and ways to mitigate those hurdles. This article...
Article
Full-text available
Privacy decision making has been examined in the literature from alternative perspectives. A dominant “normative” perspective has focused on rational processes by which consumers with stable preferences for privacy weigh the expected benefits of privacy choices against their potential costs. More recently, a behavioral perspective has leveraged the...
Article
Full-text available
Information and communication technologies (ICTs) have introduced great changes into our personal and professional lives. Although the debate over the benefits of ICTs (and how to measure them) still lingers (Remenyi, Money, and Bannister, 2007), there is a general consensus that ICTs have driven innovations in key societal dimensions, including ec...
Article
Full-text available
How does information about a person’s past, accessed now, affect individuals’ impressions of that person? In 2 survey experiments and 2 experiments with actual incentives, we compare whether, when evaluating a person, information about that person’s past greedy or immoral behaviors is discounted similarly to information about her past generous or m...
Article
Advancements in information technology often task users with complex and consequential privacy and security decisions. A growing body of research has investigated individuals’ choices in the presence of privacy and information security tradeoffs, the decision-making hurdles affecting those choices, and ways to mitigate such hurdles. This article pr...
Article
Full-text available
The success of Amazon Mechanical Turk (MTurk) as an online research platform has come at a price: MTurk has suffered from slowing rates of population replenishment, and growing participant non-naivety. Recently, a number of alternative platforms have emerged, offering capabilities similar to MTurk but providing access to new and more naïve populati...
Article
In this Essay, we examine some of the factors that make developing a "science of security" a significant research and policy challenge. We focus on how the empirical hurdles of missing data, inaccurate data, and invalid inferences can significantly impact and sometimes impair the security decisionmaking processes of individuals, firms, and policyma...
Article
Purpose This paper aims to examine how reversibility in disclosing personal information – that is, having (vs not having) to option to later revise or retract personal information – can impact consumers’ willingness to divulge personal information. Design/methodology/approach Three studies examined how informing consumers they may (reversible cond...
Article
Full-text available
This article summarizes and draws connections among diverse streams of empirical and theoretical research on the economics of privacy. Our focus is on the economic value and consequences of privacy and of personal information, and on consumers' understanding of and decisions about the costs and benefits associated with data protection and data shar...
Article
Full-text available
Long-standing policy approaches to privacy protection are centered on consumer notice and control and assume that privacy decision making is a deliberative process of comparison between costs and benefits from information disclosure. An emerging body of work, however, documents the powerful effects of factors unrelated to objective trade-offs in pr...
Conference Paper
Nudging behaviors through user interface design is a practice that is well-studied in HCI research. Corporations often use this knowledge to modify online interfaces to influence user information disclosure. In this paper, we experimentally test the impact of a norm-shaping design patterns on information divulging behavior. We show that (1) a set o...
Article
Health information exchanges (HIEs) are healthcare information technology efforts designed to foster coordination of patient care across the fragmented U.S. healthcare system. Their purpose is to improve efficiency and quality of care through enhanced sharing of patient data. Across the United States, numerous states have enacted laws that provide...
Research
Full-text available
The success of Amazon Mechanical Turk (MTurk) as an online research platform has come at a price: MTurk exhibits slowing rates of population replenishment, and growing participants’ non-naivety. Recently, a number of alternative platforms have emerged, offering capabilities similar to MTurk while providing access to new and more naïve populations....
Conference Paper
Full-text available
In a series of experiments, we examined how the timing impacts the salience of smartphone app privacy notices. In a web survey and a field experiment, we isolated different timing conditions for displaying privacy notices: in the app store, when an app is started, during app use, and after app use. Participants installed and played a history quiz a...
Article
Full-text available
Personal data is increasingly conceived as a tradable asset. Markets for personal information are emerging and new ways of valuating individuals’ data are being proposed. At the same time, legal obligations over protection of personal data and individuals’ concerns over its privacy persist. This article outlines some of the economic, technical, soc...
Article
Full-text available
Personal data is increasingly conceived as a tradable asset. Markets for personal information are emerging and new ways of valuating individuals’ data are being proposed. At the same time, legal obligations over protection of personal data and individuals’ concerns over its privacy persist. This article outlines some of the economic, technical, soc...
Conference Paper
Full-text available
Smartphone users are often unaware of the data collected by apps running on their devices. We report on a study that evaluates the benefits of giving users an app permission manager and sending them nudges intended to raise their awareness of the data collected by their apps. Our study provides both qualitative and quantitative evidence that these...
Conference Paper
Full-text available
Despite benefits and uses of social networking sites (SNSs) users are not always satisfied with their behaviors on the sites. These desires for behavior change both provide insight into users' perceptions of how SNSs impact their lives (positively or negatively) and can inform tools for helping users achieve desired behavior changes. We use a 604-p...
Article
This Review summarizes and draws connections between diverse streams of empirical research on privacy behavior. We use three themes to connect insights from social and behavioral sciences: people's uncertainty about the consequences of privacy-related behaviors and their own preferences over those consequences; the context-dependence of people's co...
Article
Full-text available
We investigate the feasibility of combining publicly available Web 2.0 data with off-the-shelf face recognition software for the purpose of large-scale, automated individual re-identification. Two experiments illustrate the ability of identifying strangers online (on a dating site where individuals protect their identities by using pseudonyms) and...
Article
Full-text available
This paper summarizes our efforts to bring together and extend the best in current theory and technologies for teamwork-centered autonomy for space applications. Traditional planning technologies at the foundation of intelligent robotic systems typically take an autonomy-centered approach, with representations, mechanisms, and algorithms that have...
Patent
Methods and systems for predicting statistically probable systematically assigned identifiers are disclosed, as are methods and systems for determining the likelihood that a systematically assigned identifier provided by a purported assignee of the identifier is legitimate. In one example, determining the likelihood of legitimacy includes determini...
Article
Full-text available
When asked to mentally simulate coin tosses, people generate sequences that differ systematically from those generated by fair coins. It has been rarely noted that this divergence is apparent already in the very 1st mental toss. Analysis of several existing data sets reveals that about 80% of respondents start their sequence with Heads. We attribut...
Article
Full-text available
Anecdotal evidence and scholarly research have shown that Internet users may regret some of their online disclosures. To help individuals avoid such regrets, we designed two modifications to the Facebook web interface that nudge users to consider the content and audience of their online disclosures more carefully. We implemented and evaluated these...
Article
Full-text available
We present an architecture for the Security Behavior Observatory (SBO), a client-server infrastructure designed to collect a wide array of data on user and computer behavior from hundreds of participants over several years. The SBO infrastructure had to be carefully designed to fulfill several requirements. First, the SBO must scale with the desire...
Article
In recent years, progresses in data mining and business analytics have fostered the advent of recommender systems, behavioral advertising, and other ways of using consumer data to personalize offers and products. We investigate the incentives for sellers to invest in systems that allow the tracking of consumers and then to truthfully report whether...
Article
Full-text available
Confessions are people's way of coming clean, sharing unethical acts with others. Although confessions are traditionally viewed as categorical-one either comes clean or not-people often confess to only part of their transgression. Such partial confessions may seem attractive, because they offer an opportunity to relieve one's guilt without having t...
Article
Full-text available
Data quality is one of the major concerns of using crowdsourcing websites such as Amazon Mechanical Turk (MTurk) to recruit participants for online behavioral studies. We compared two methods for ensuring data quality on MTurk: attention check questions (ACQs) and restricting participation to MTurk workers with high reputation (above 95% approval r...
Conference Paper
Full-text available
Background. The security and privacy communities have become increasingly interested in results from behavioral economics and psychology to help frame decisions so that users can make better privacy and security choices. One such result in the literature suggests that cognitive disfluency (presenting questions in a hard-to-read font) reduces self-d...
Conference Paper
Location sharing is a popular feature of online social networks, but challenges remain in the effective presentation of privacy choices to users, whose location sharing preferences are complex and diverse. One proposed approach for capturing these nuances builds on the observation that key attributes of users' location sharing preferences can be re...
Conference Paper
Self-reported behavioral data is frequently relied upon to understand the population of social network users. These data often consist of self-reported posting, commenting or general engagement frequency within the social network over the last few days or a month. Using a sample of 397 Google+ users, we show that these data can be quite inaccurate...
Conference Paper
In an effort to address persistent consumer privacy concerns, policy makers and the data industry seem to have found common grounds in proposals that aim at making online privacy more "transparent." Such self-regulatory approaches rely on, among other things, providing more and better information to users of Internet services about how their data i...
Article
Full-text available
Many researchers have already begun using personal mobile devices as personal "sensing instruments" and designed tools that reposition individuals as producers, consumers, and remixers of a vast openly shared public data set. By empowering people to easily measure, report, and compare their own personal environment, such tools transform everyday ci...
Article
Even simpler or more usable privacy controls and notices might not improve users' decision-making regarding sharing of personal information. Control might paradoxically increase riskier disclosure by soothing privacy concerns. Transparency might be easily muted, and its effect arbitrarily controlled, through simple framing or misdirections.
Article
Full-text available
We investigate individuals' valuations of privacy using field and lab experiments. We find that privacy valuations are inconsistent and highly dependent on subtle framing. Specifically, we find evidence of a dichotomy between "willingness to pay" and "willingness to accept" for privacy: Individuals assign radically different values to the protectio...
Article
Confessions are people's way of "coming clean," sharing unethical acts with others. While confessions are traditionally viewed as categorical (one either comes clean or not), people might often confess to only part of their transgression. Such partial confessions might seem attractive, because they offer an opportunity to relieve one’s guilt withou...
Conference Paper
Anecdotal evidence and scholarly research have shown that a significant portion of Internet users experience regrets over their online disclosures. To help individuals avoid regrettable online disclosures, we employed lessons from behavioral decision research and research on soft paternalism to design mechanisms that "nudge" users to consider the c...
Article
Full-text available
We test the hypothesis that increasing individuals’ perceived control over the release and access of private information—even information that allows them to be personally identified––will increase their willingness to disclose sensitive information. If their willingness to divulge increases sufficiently, such an increase in control can, paradoxica...
Conference Paper
We present the results of an online survey of 1,221 Twitter users, comparing messages individuals regretted either saying during in-person conversations or posting on Twitter. Participants generally reported similar types of regrets in person and on Twitter. In particular, they often regretted messages that were critical of others. However, regrett...
Article
Economics and behavioral economics offer different but complementary approaches to understanding privacy and security. This article explains briefly their differences and similarities, and why they matter in our thinking about security and privacy.
Article
Full-text available
Over the past decade, social network sites have experienced dramatic growth in popularity, reaching most demographics and providing new opportunities for interaction and socialization. Through this growth, users have been challenged to manage novel privacy concerns and balance nuanced trade-offs between disclosing and withholding personal informati...
Article
This paper describes an empirical study of 1.6M deleted tweets collected over a continuous one-week period from a set of 292K Twitter users. We examine several aggregate properties of deleted tweets, including their connections to other tweets (e.g., whether they are replies or retweets), the clients used to produce them, temporal aspects of deleti...
Article
Full-text available
As social networking sites (SNSs) gain in popularity, instances of regrets following online (over)sharing continue to be reported. In June 2010, a pierogi mascot for the Pittsburgh Pirates was fired because he posted disparaging comments about the team on his Facebook page. More recently, a high school teacher was forced to resign because she poste...
Article
We provide three related approaches to better understand the connections between the literatures on the value of privacy, and economic decision-making. In particular, we consider economic scenarios where individuals lack important information about facets of a privacy choice and where the relevant outcomes of a choice are non-deterministic. We begi...
Article
Full-text available
The opening panel at the University of Colorado—Boulder’s “Economics of Privacy” Conference was asked to tackle an important but perilous question: Is there a market failure for information privacy? The question is perilous, because the term “market failure” is unfortunately used, and misused, to refer to different things (from market outcomes that...
Article
Full-text available
Two sets of studies illustrate the comparative nature of disclosure behavior. The first set investigates how divulgence is affected by signals about others' readiness to divulge and shows a "herding" effect: Survey respondents are more willing to divulge sensitive information when told that previous respondents have made sensitive disclosures (Stud...
Article
Self-report surveys and anecdotal evidence indicate that US firms use social networking sites to seek information about prospective hires. However, little is known about how the information they find online actually influences firms’ hiring decisions. We present the design and preliminary results of a series of controlled experiments of the impact...
Article
As Internet media has become widely used over time, public opinions formed by Internet discussions affect political and social issues more critically. While Internet space guarantees equal status and opportunity based on anonymity, privacy invasion and cyber bully have been causing serious troubles recently. In order to prevent this undesirable eff...
Article
We present the results of a study designed to measure the impact of interruptive advertising on consumers' willingness to pay for products bearing the advertiser's brand. Subjects participating in a controlled experiment were exposed to ads that diverted their attention from a computer game they were testing. We measured subjects' willingness to pa...
Article
Full-text available
We investigate regrets associated with users' posts on a popular social networking site. Our findings are based on a series of in-terviews, user diaries, and online surveys involving 569 Ameri-can Facebook users. Their regrets revolved around sensitive top-ics, content with strong sentiment, lies, and secrets. Our research reveals several possible...
Article
This paper investigates how internet users' perception of control over their personal information affects how likely they are to click on online advertising. The paper uses data from a randomized field experiment that examined the relative effectiveness of personalizing ad copy with posted personal information on a social networking website. The we...
Article
Full-text available
New marketing paradigms that exploit the capabilities for data collection, aggregation, and dissemination introduced by the Internet provide benefits to consumers but also pose real or perceived privacy hazards. In four experiments, we seek to understand consumer decisions to reveal or withhold information and the relationship between such decision...