User Acceptance of Online Tracking if 'Forgetting' was an Option

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Shah, Vidhi Kirit




Users are constantly bombarded with targeted ads based on their online behavior. Researchers have found that users often feel uncomfortable when they see targeted ads based on sensitive topics. The hypothesis behind this study is that perhaps the problem isn't the tracking, per se, but the retention of so much information about users in an opaque fashion. Hence this thesis aims to understand if giving users fine-grained control over retention of online tracking data (related to specific targeted ads) would change the acceptability of online tracking. We decided to test this hypothesis by conducting two user studies on views of online tracking and data retention and whether a hypothetical "forget" option that deleted all data related to the displayed ad would change those views. Our results indicate that such control does make online tracking more acceptable to users.


Computer Science




Carleton University

Thesis Degree Name: 

Master of Computer Science: 

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Thesis Degree Discipline: 

Computer Science

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Theses and Dissertations

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