Towards transparency and privacy in the online advertising business

CPDP2017 – Computers, Privacy & Data Protection

Chief amongst the dissemination activities in project year two has been the participation of the consortium at the CPDP2017 Conference.

TYPES took a two-pronged approach to its dissemination and communication efforts at CPDP. On the one hand, it organised a Panel boasting industry advertising leaders. On the other, it organised a demo booth for maximum impact in disseminating the TYPES tool among attendees to the conference.


Chair: Townsend Feehan, IAB Europe (BE)

Moderator: Nikolaos Laoutaris, Telefónica and Data Transparency Lab (ES)

Panel: John Byers, Boston University (US), Christopher Clifton, Purdue University (US), Will DeVries, Google (US), Pedro Martin Jurado, Spanish Ministry of Industry (ES), Claire Levallois-Barth, Telecom ParisTech (FR)

The lack of awareness of citizens regarding the management of personal information and their increasing concern regarding privacy and data protection pose a serious risk for the sustainable economic growth of online services. In 2015, the Eurobarometer study revealed that 63% of EU citizens do not trust online businesses (search engines, online social networks, e-mail services), more than half of the citizens neither like providing personal information in return for free services, nor appreciate the use of their personal data for targeted advertising. These numbers implicitly demand more transparency around the use of personal data in online services. The recently adopted General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) aims at easing the current situation by enhancing users’ control over their personal data. In light of the concerns this situation raises for the online advertising sector, the panel will address the following questions:

  • What are the main concerns of citizens in relation to the use of their personal data?
  • What are the most illustrative examples of an intrusive-discriminatory usage of collected personal data?
  • What differentiates a “good guy” from a “bad guy” in AdTech? What is the role of self-regulation?
  • Do we have the right technological and human resources to monitor and enforce the GDPR?

Supplementary dissemination activities:

  • Flyers, direct discussions with attendees (an estimated 100 – 150 people attended this panel)
  • An excellent opportunity to disseminate and very well oriented on TYPES’ potential audience

The panel was live tweeted by IAB Europe on the TYPES Tweeter account  Demo booth

In addition to the panel organised by the consortium, CPDP 2017 housed a booth which provided the TYPES technical partners with the opportunity to present their tools and collect feedback and input from the attendees. The results of this activity are detailed below.

    • Demo name: Data Broker
    • Description of the presentation / testing process: Data broker demo
    • Visitors attending the presentation / testing the demo: 20
    • Feedback received: Very good
  • IMDEA Networks
    • Demo name: Reverse Engineering Targeted advertising
    • Description of the presentation / testing process: Presentation of the tool for Reverse Engineering targeted advertising is presented, and the audience in the conference tested the tool
    • Visitors attending the presentation / testing the demo: Over 50
    • Feedback received: Positive
  • IMDEA Networks
    • Demo name: Tool for revealing intermediaries involved in ad-serving system
    • Description of the presentation / testing process: Presented the tool developed in TYPES project and invited the audience to test the tool
    • Visitors attending the presentation / testing the demo: Over 50
    • Feedback received: Excellent feedback and promises to use the tool
  • IMDEA Networks
    • Demo name: Your Data in the Eyes of the Beholders – Design of a unified data valuation portal to estimate value of personal information from market perspective
    • Description of the presentation / testing process: We presented the portal that shows how the market values different aspects of behavioral and demographic data and let the users test and evaluate the system
    • Visitors attending the presentation / testing the demo: Over 100
    • Feedback received: Received excellent feedback, we shared the web address where they can further utilize the system 
  • Telefonica I+D
    • Demo name: eyeWndr
    • Description of the presentation / testing process: The tool was demoed using a local browser with several different websites available (cnn.com, bbc.com, forbes.com, yahoo.com, espn.com, etc.). The tool marked successfully the advertisements placed in the several websites and the attendee could see the explanation offered by the tool on the targeting performed. Also, the attendee could see the various visuals that the plugin offers by analyzing the local browsing history of the user (i.e., domain cloud, topic cloud, the different interests involved, the graph-based visuals of how interests and domains are connected, etc.)
    • Visitors attending the presentation / testing the demo: 20
    • Feedback received:
      • We were told the visuals look great
      • We should give the domain and topic clouds a cool name
      • Some attendees really liked the concept but found it hard to follow all the different details and features
      • It was very intuitive and easy to follow tool
      • Very cool tool, very useful for auditors, etc.
      • It would be great to make it available to everyone
      • Should try to contact advertisers and get their feedback.
    • Other comments: We provided the best answers we could to such feedback. It was very engaging experience. We didn’t need that many flyers. Also the posters were good but could have filled-up more of the white-space.
  • UC3M
    • Demo name: FDVT: Facebook Data Valuation Tool
    • Description of the presentation / testing process: Live Demo of the FDVT
    • Visitors attending the presentation / testing the demo: 100
    • Feedback received: Everybody liked the tool as a means to educate people to know the fact that they generate money with their personal data, and also how much they are generating for one of the major players exploiting personal information such as Facebook.
  • AUI
    • Demo name: www.TestYourPrivacy.eu
    • Description of the presentation / testing process: Live Demo of testyourprivacy.eu portal
    • Visitors attending the presentation / testing the demo: 130
    • Feedback received: Attendees valued the simplicity and usefulness of the portal for the simple and accessible language for people with little technical knowledge. Another aspect that made a positive impression was the work of compiling in a single site different tools, tips and information aimed at raising awareness about the importance of privacy for digital citizens

Supplementary dissemination activities:

TYPES Flyers and Roll-ups

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