Usable Privacy by Visual and Interactive Control of Information Flow

  • Shah Mahmood
  • Yvo Desmedt
Part of the Lecture Notes in Computer Science book series (LNCS, volume 7622)


With over 2 billion people using the Internet and over 800 million people registered on the popular social networking website Facebook, one problem that is widely discussed in the media and extensively researched in academic circles is that of ensuring privacy of the users. Privacy has been defined as the “individuals right to control information about themselves”, but this right is hard to enforce if one does not understand the flow of information. In this paper, we suggest that in order to bring privacy enhancing protocols into life, for the user, we need to visualise the information flow from the user to the Internet and vice versa. This would help users better understand what information they are sharing with whom and disable any undesired flows, with a mouse-click or a finger-tap, before it is too late.


Security Protocols Privacy Security Information Visualisation Information Flow 


Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.


  1. 1.
    Obama advises caution in use of Facebook. Associated Press (September 8, 2009)Google Scholar
  2. 2.
    Facebook bug sees Zuckerberg pictures posted online. BBC (December 7, 2011)Google Scholar
  3. 3.
    Internet World Stats (2011),
  4. 4.
    Acquisti, A., Grossklags, J.: Privacy and rationality in individual decision making. IEEE Security & Privacy 3(1), 26–33 (2005)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. 5.
    Anderson, R.J.: Security engineering - a guide to building dependable distributed systems, 2nd edn. Wiley (2008)Google Scholar
  6. 6.
    Baddeley, A.: Working memory. Science 255(31), 556–559 (1992)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. 7.
    Berger, P.L.: Models of Bounded Rationality, vol. I-III. The MIT Press, Cambridge (1982)Google Scholar
  8. 8.
    Efrati, A.: GM signs Google apps pact, in initial step toward cloud. The Wall Street Journal (November 2011)Google Scholar
  9. 9.
  10. 10.
    Gross, R., Acquisti, A., John Heinz III, H.: Information revelation and privacy in online social networks. In: WPES, pp. 71–80 (2005)Google Scholar
  11. 11.
    Lewman, A.: Tor: Onion routing. UCL Computer Science, Information Security Seminar Series (January 11, 2012)Google Scholar
  12. 12.
    Mackay, W.E.: Triggers and barriers to customizing software. In: CHI, pp. 153–160 (1991)Google Scholar
  13. 13.
    Mahmood, S., Desmedt, Y.: Poster: preliminary analysis of google+’s privacy. In: ACM Conference on Computer and Communications Security, pp. 809–812 (2011)Google Scholar
  14. 14.
    Michael Henderson, D.L., de Zwart, M., Phillips, M.: Will u friend me? Legal Risks of Social Networking Sites. Monash University (2011)Google Scholar
  15. 15.
    Monkovic, T.: Eagles employee fired for Facebook post. New York Times, March 10 (2009)Google Scholar
  16. 16.
    Naraine, R.: Facebook offers https browsing, but not yet by default (2011),
  17. 17.
    Wang, Y., Komanduri, S., Leon, P.G., Norcie, G., Acquisti, A., Cranor, L.F.: I regretted the minute I pressed share.: A qualitative study of regrets on Facebook. In: SOUPS (2011)Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2012

Authors and Affiliations

  • Shah Mahmood
    • 1
  • Yvo Desmedt
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of Computer ScienceUniversity College LondonUnited Kingdom

Personalised recommendations