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Learning Privacy Expectations by Crowdsourcing Contextual Informational Norms

December 07, 2016 by Yan Shvartzshnaider, Helen Nissenbaum, Schraising Tong, Lakshminarayanan Subramanian, Thomas Wies, Prateek Mittal, Paula Kift

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Designing programmable privacy logic frameworks that correspond to social, ethical, and legal norms has been a fundamentally hard problem. Contextual integrity (CI) (Nissenbaum 2010) offers a model for conceptualizing privacy that is able to bridge technical design with ethical, legal, and policy approaches. While CI is capable of capturing the various components of contextual privacy in theory, it is challenging to discover and formally express these norms in operational terms., Designing programmable privacy logic frameworks that correspond to social, ethical, and legal norms has been a fundamentally hard problem. Contextual integrity (CI) (Nissenbaum 2010) offers a model for conceptualizing privacy that is able to bridge technical design with ethical, legal, and policy approaches. While CI is capable of capturing the various components of contextual privacy in theory, it is challenging to discover and formally express these norms in operational terms. In the following, we propose a crowdsourcing method for the automated discovery of contextual norms. To evaluate the effectiveness and scalability of our approach, we conducted an extensive survey on Amazon’s Mechanical Turk (AMT) with more than 450 participants and 1400 questions. The paper has three main takeaways: First, we demonstrate the ability to generate survey questions corresponding to privacy norms within any context. Second, we show that crowdsourcing enables the discovery of norms from these questions with strong majoritarian consensus among users. Finally, we demonstrate how the norms thus discovered can be encoded into a formal logic to automatically verify their consistency.