Title: A Speculative Framework for Auditability in Online Behavioural Tracking and Advertising
Abstract: Online Behavioural Tracking and Advertising (OBTA) technologies, mechanisms and practices have raised public concern in areas such as privacy, discrimination, algorithmic bias, and social engineering, and, consequently, industry concerns such as brand damage and declining trust. In response to public concerns there have been a wide range of tools, investigations, and interventions with varying degrees of impact in both raising awareness and bringing change. In this talk I introduce a speculative framework that contributes from both a technical and methodological point of view: 1. A model called TATE (Targeted Advertising Tracking Extension) that conceptualises how the entities, agents, and activities influencing or producing a targeted ad could be documented and queried in a hypothetical OBTA scenario using semantic Web technologies (W3C PROV). 2. Interviews with key informants exploring if and how the model could be adopted and used, and by whom (early findings from on-going interview/analysis). 3. Having identified some of the promises and challenges of adoption and intended usage from the work in progress interviews & analysis, I step beyond practicality by imagining a space where the model could be adopted and used for enhancing accountability. 4. Finally, I use this imaginary to speculate how some of the struggles could step out of the arms-race, and question and/or shift the terrain as opposed to patching solutions on the existing state.