Funding IS/14717072 supported by
An interdisciplinary research project on deceptive design patterns online: 2021-2024
Dark patterns are manipulative designs that aim at influencing the decisions users take online about the disclosure of their personal data, their purchases, and their use of time. Plenty of digital services employ dark patterns, ranging from social media to video games and e-commerce websites.
Such manipulative techniques expose users to various risks, like privacy invasion and financial harms, and impact collective welfare with repercussions on fair competition and consumer trust in the digital economy. Dark patterns are illegal when they circumvent the principles of transparency and fairness, and infringe the requirements of consent and data protection by design. They are also unethical because they undermine the autonomy of users.
Dark patterns are embedded both in user-facing front-end and in back-end technologies. This is why this issue calls for a socio-technical approach via interdisciplinary collaboration.
DECEPTICON has 4 main goals:
- Empirically studying the effects of dark patterns on user behaviour
- Developing data science techniques and formal methods to automatically recognize dark patterns
- Developing tools to assess the presence of dark patterns on online services
- Sharing information and know-how about dark patterns and countermeasures among various stakeholders (researchers, regulators, practitioners, NGOs, etc.)
Who benefits from this research?
Businesses that need to self-assess the compliance of their services and practitioners (designers, developers, etc.) who value the embedding of legal-ethical principles into their products.
Regulators, lawyers and other legal experts who need to thoroughly inspect the data practices of many companies or, conversely, advise their clients about best practices in system and interface design.
Researchers who study manipulation and deception under various angles (e.g., data science, law, HCI/UX, cybersecurity).
End-users who need a better protection of their rights and interests.
The Decepticon team
SnT, University of Luxembourg
COSA, University of Luxembourg
Luxembourg Institute of Science & Technology
Maria W. Botes, Rachele Carli, Arianna Rossi, Lorena Sanchez Chamorro, Cristiana Santos, 2022 “Feedback to the Guidelines 3/2022 on “Dark patterns in social media platform interfaces: How to recognise and avoid them”“
Lorena Sanchez Chamorro, Kerstin Bongard-Blanchy, Vincent Koenig”Justice in interaction design: preventing manipulation in interfaces.” Workshop “Dreaming Disability Justice in HCI”, April 30–May 05, 2022, New Orleans (Virtual Workshop).
Maria W. Botes. 2022 “Autonomy and the social dilemma of online manipulative behavior.” AI & Ethics, Springer. https://doi.org/10.1007/s43681-022-00157-5
Bongard-Blanchy, Kerstin, Jean-Louis Sterckx, Arianna Rossi, Verena Distler, Salvador Rivas, and Vincent Koenig. 2022. “An (Un) Necessary Evil-Users'(Un) Certainty about Smartphone App Permissions and Implications for Privacy Engineering.” In 2022 IEEE European Symposium on Security and Privacy Workshops (EuroS&PW), pp. 01-08. IEEE. https://doi.org/10.1109/EuroSPW55150.2022.00023
Rossi, Arianna, Regis Chatellier, Stefano Leucci, Rossana Ducato, and Estelle Hary. 2022. “What if data protection embraced foresight and speculative design?” In DRS2022 Bilbao. DRS Digital Library. https://doi.org/10.21606/drs.2022.681
Rossi, Arianna, Mónica P. Arenas, Emre Kocyigit, and Moad Hani. 2022. “Challenges of protecting confidentiality in social media data and their ethical import” In 2022 IEEE European Symposium on Security and Privacy Workshops (EuroS&PW), pp. 554-561. IEEE. https://doi.org/10.1109/EuroSPW55150.2022.00066
Doan, Xengie, Annika Selzer, Arianna Rossi, Wilhelmina Maria Botes, and Gabriele Lenzini. “Context, Prioritization and Unexpectedness: Factors Influencing User Attitudes about Infographic and Comic Consent” WWW ’22: Companion Proceedings of the Web Conference 2022, April 2022, Pages 534–545. 2022. https://doi.org/10.1145/3487553.3524632
Arianna Rossi, Human Soheil, Degeling Martin, Santos Christiana, Pandit Harshvardhan, Morel, Botes Wilhelmina Maria, Jesus Vitor, Kamara Irene “Data Protection and Consenting Communication Mechanisms: Current Proposals and Challenges.” 2022 International Workshop on Privacy Engineering – IWPE’22, Co-located with 7th IEEE European Symposium on Security and Privacy, 6 June 2022, Genoa, Italy. https://doi.org/10.1109/EuroSPW55150.2022.00029
Cristiana Santos, Arianna Rossi, Lorena Sanchez Chamorro, Kerstin Bongard-Blanchy, and Ruba Abu-Salma. “Cookie Banners, What’s the Purpose? Analyzing Cookie Banner Text Through a Legal Lens.” In Proceedings of the 20th Workshop on Workshop on Privacy in the Electronic Society, pp. 187-194. 2021. https://doi.org/10.1145/3463676.3485611
Maria Wilhelmina Botes and Arianna Rossi. 2021 “Visualisation Techniques for Consent: Finding Common Ground in Comic Art with Indigenous Populations.” In 2021 IEEE European Symposium on Security and Privacy Workshops (EuroS&PW), pp. 292-297. IEEE. https://doi.org/10.1109/EuroSPW54576.2021.00037
Kerstin Bongard-Blanchy, Arianna Rossi, Salvador Rivas, Sophie Doublet, Vincent Koenig, and Gabriele Lenzini. 2021. “I am Definitely Manipulated, Even When I am Aware of it. It’s Ridiculous!” – Dark Patterns from the End-User Perspective. In ACM DIS Conference on Designing Interactive Systems, June 28– July 2, 2021, Virtual event, USA.ACM, New York, NY, USA, 38 pages. https://doi.org/10.1145/3461778.3462086
Arianna Rossi and Kerstin Bongard-Blanchy. 2021. All in one Stroke? Intervention Spaces for Dark Patterns. Position Paper at the Workshop “What Can CHI Do About Dark Patterns?” at the CHI Conference on HumanFactors in Computing Systems (CHI’21), May 8–13, 2021, Online Virtual Conference (originally Yokohama, Japan).5 pages.
Maria Wilhelmina Botes and Arianna Rossi. 2021 “Back to the Future with Icons and Images: “Low-Tech” to Communicate and Protect Privacy and Data.” R. Ducato and A. Strowel (Eds.), Legal Design Perspectives. Theoretical and Practical Insights from the Field, Ledi publishing
Get in touch
SnT – Interdisciplinary Centre for Security, Reliability and Trust
Maison du Nombre, 6, avenue de la Fonte, L-4364 Esch-sur-Alzette