Pursuing Usable and Useful Data Downloads Under GDPR/CCPA Access Rights via Co-Design


Sophie Veys, Daniel Serrano, Madison Stamos, and Margot Herman, University of Chicago; Nathan Reitinger and Michelle L. Mazurek, University of Maryland; Blase Ur, University of Chicago


Data privacy regulations like GDPR and CCPA define a right of access empowering consumers to view the data companies store about them. Companies satisfy these requirements in part via data downloads, or downloadable archives containing this information. Data downloads vary in format, organization, comprehensiveness, and content. It is unknown, however, whether current data downloads actually achieve the transparency goals embodied by the right of access. In this paper, we report on the first exploration of the design of data downloads. Through 12 focus groups involving 42 participants, we gathered reactions to six companies' data downloads. Using co-design techniques, we solicited ideas for future data download designs, formats, and tools. Most participants indicated that current offerings need improvement to be useful, emphasizing the need for better filtration, visualization, and summarization to help them hone in on key information.

SOUPS 2021 Open Access Videos Sponsored by

Open Access Media

USENIX is committed to Open Access to the research presented at our events. Papers and proceedings are freely available to everyone once the event begins. Any video, audio, and/or slides that are posted after the event are also free and open to everyone. Support USENIX and our commitment to Open Access.

@inproceedings {274435,
author = {Sophie Veys and Daniel Serrano and Madison Stamos and Margot Herman and Nathan Reitinger and Michelle L. Mazurek and Blase Ur},
title = {Pursuing Usable and Useful Data Downloads Under {GDPR/CCPA} Access Rights via {Co-Design}},
booktitle = {Seventeenth Symposium on Usable Privacy and Security (SOUPS 2021)},
year = {2021},
isbn = {978-1-939133-25-0},
pages = {217--242},
url = {https://www.usenix.org/conference/soups2021/presentation/veys},
publisher = {USENIX Association},
month = aug,

Presentation Video