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Please use this identifier to cite or link to this item: http://hdl.handle.net/1942/19051

Title: Captchat: A Messaging Tool to Frustrate Ubiquitous Surveillance
Authors: Dunphy, Paul
Nicholson, James
Olivier, Patrick
Issue Date: 2015
Publisher: ACM
Citation: Proceedings of the International Conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems (alt.CHI2015), p. 639-646
Abstract: There is currently a widespread uncertainty regarding the ability of citizens to control privacy online in the face of ubiquitous surveillance. This is a huge and complex societal problem. Despite the multi-faceted nature of the problem, we propose that HCI researchers can still make a positive contribution in this space through the design of technologies that support citizens to engage with issues of surveillance. In this paper we describe the design of a messaging application called Captchat. Captchat enables people to send everyday messages embedded into images, with the added ability to apply visual distortions to the message to resemble an online CAPTCHA. We propose the chief benefit would be that Captchat messages (with potentially “one-time” distortions) can increase the difficulty for algorithms to index private messages and necessitate the involvement of much more costly human labor in the surveillance process. We developed a prototype and conducted a user study; the results suggest that people were likely to create Captchat messages that were difficult to index for an OCR package but still easy to understand by humans, even without explicit instructions to interact ‘securely’ with the application. While more work is still required to understand the limitations of Captchat, we hope it can open discussion on how HCI researchers can respond to the challenges faced from ubiquitous surveillance.
URI: http://hdl.handle.net/1942/19051
DOI: 10.1145/2702613.2732515
ISBN: 9781450331463
Category: C1
Type: Proceedings Paper
Appears in Collections: Research publications

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