What is it about?

Modern web browsers offer an autocompletion feature that automatically fills out web forms with one simple click. But because these autocompletion tools typically fill out all the fields, even those that are not required, they may cause users to skip weighing the benefits and risks of disclosing each specific piece of potentially private information. In this study, we demonstrate that this indeed happens. We also invented two new autocompletion tools that overcome this problem: the "Remove FormFiller" which allows users to click a button to remove each individual entry, and the "Add FormFiller" which does not fill out the form automatically, but users can click a button to add the pre-collected information to each individual field. We find that users of the Remove and Add FormFillers more carefully weigh the risks and benefits of disclosure because the tools increase their self-efficacy. This, in turn, makes their disclosure decisions more purpose-specific.

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Why is it important?

This research shows that autocompletion tool design has a direct impact on disclosure, as users disclosed significantly more with the traditional tool compared to the alternative add/remove tools. This result implies that default effects could be a less serious problem with alternative tools. The proposed alternative tools were able to nullify the default effect, which is extremely pervasive in human decision-making.

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This page is a summary of: Designing Alternative Form-Autocompletion Tools to Enhance Privacy Decision Making and Prevent Unintended Disclosure, ACM Transactions on Computer-Human Interaction, July 2023, ACM (Association for Computing Machinery),
DOI: 10.1145/3610366.
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