Oana Goga

(Université Grenoble Alpes)
hosted by Adish Singla

"Privacy, Transparency and Trust in the User-Centric Internet"

( MPI-SWS talk in Kooperation mit dem Fachbereich Informatik)

The rise of user-centric Internet systems such as Facebook or Twitter brought security and privacy threats that became out of control in recent years. To make such systems more dependable, my research focuses on three key aspects: (1) privacy: ensure users understand and can control the information that is disclosed about them; (2) transparency: ensure users understand how their data is being used and how it affects the services they receive; and (3) trust: ensure users can evaluate the trustworthiness of content consumed from these systems. In this talk, I will share my research efforts in understanding and tackling security and privacy threats in social media targeted advertising. Despite a number of recent controversies regarding privacy violations, lack of transparency, or vulnerability to discrimination or propaganda by dishonest actors; users still have little understanding of what data targeted advertising platforms have about them and why they are shown the ads they see. To address such concerns, Facebook recently introduced the “Why am I seeing this?” button that provides users with an explanation of why they were shown a particular ad. I first investigate the level of transparency provided by this mechanism by empirically measuring whether it satisfies a number of key properties and what are the consequences of the current design choices. To provide a better understanding of the Facebook advertising ecosystem, we developed a tool called AdAnalyst that collects the ads users receive and provides aggregate statistics. I will then share our findings from analyzing data from over 600 real-world AdAnalyst users; in particular on who is advertising on Facebook and how these advertisers are targeting users and customizing ads via the platform.

Bio: Oana Goga is a tenured CNRS research scientist in the Laboratoire d’Informatique Grenoble (France) since October 2017. Prior to this, she was a postdoc at the Max Plank Institute for Software Systems and obtained a PhD in 2014 from Pierre et Marie Curie University in Paris. She is the recipient of a young researcher award from the French National Research Agency (ANR). Her research interests are in security and privacy issues that arise in online systems that have at their core user provided data. Her recent work on security and privacy issues in social media advertising led to changes in the Facebook advertising platform.

Time: Thursday, 07.03.2019, 10:30
Place: MPI-SWS Saarbrücken, room 029
Video: videocast to MPI-SWS Kaiserslautern, room 111