How to (In)Effectively Convey Privacy Choices with Icons and Link Text

Lorrie Faith Cranor, Carnegie Mellon University; Florian Schaub, University of Michigan


Clear communication about privacy through icons and/or just a few words can be a difficult challenge. We have been involved in a number of research projects that evaluated proposed and implemented privacy choice icons and short text, including most recently studies related to the CCPA opt-out button. In this talk we will discuss our research into privacy icons and text, explaining both our methods, and our findings. We will demonstrate how to conduct these sorts of studies quickly and at low cost, and discuss why they are so important. We will also provide lessons learned about what works and what doesn’t when you want to communicate about privacy through icons and short text.

Lorrie Faith Cranor, Carnegie Mellon University

Lorrie Faith Cranor is the Director and Bosch Distinguished Professor of the CyLab Security and Privacy Institute and FORE Systems Professor of Computer Science and of Engineering and Public Policy at Carnegie Mellon University. She also directs the CyLab Usable Privacy and Security Laboratory (CUPS) and co-directs the MSIT-Privacy Engineering masters program. In 2016 she served as Chief Technologist at the US Federal Trade Commission. She co-founded Wombat Security Technologies, a security awareness training company that was acquired by Proofpoint. She is a fellow of the ACM and IEEE and a member of the ACM CHI Academy.

Florian Schaub, University of Michigan

Florian Schaub is an Assistant Professor in the School of Information. His research focuses on empowering users to effectively manage their privacy in complex socio-technological systems. His research interests span privacy, human-computer interaction, mobile and ubiquitous computing, and the Internet of Things. Before joining the University of Michigan, he was a postdoctoral fellow in the School of Computer Science at Carnegie Mellon University. He received his doctoral degree and Diplom in Computer Science from the University of Ulm, Germany, and a Bachelor in Information Technology from Deakin University, Australia.
@inproceedings {257961,
author = {Lorrie Faith Cranor and Florian Schaub},
title = {How to (In)Effectively Convey Privacy Choices with Icons and Link Text},
booktitle = {2020 {USENIX} Conference on Privacy Engineering Practice and Respect ({PEPR} 20)},
year = {2020},
url = {},
publisher = {{USENIX} Association},
month = oct,

Presentation Video