Community Research and Development Information Service - CORDIS


TYPES Report Summary

Project ID: 653449
Funded under: H2020-EU.3.7.

Periodic Reporting for period 1 - TYPES (Towards transparencY and Privacy in the onlinE advertising businesS)

Reporting period: 2015-05-01 to 2016-04-30

Summary of the context and overall objectives of the project

Online advertising generated in 2013 $42B worth of revenue and more than 3.4 million direct and indirect jobs in Europe in 2012 alone. It supports some of the most important Internet services such as search, social media and user generated content sites. However, the lack of transparency regarding tracking techniques and the type of information companies collect about users is creating increasing concerns in society.
Software tools for implementing total mitigation (e.g., ad blocker or cookies blocker) have been released to block any transfer of information from end users towards the online advertising ecosystem. A massive adoption of these tools by end users may cause disruptions in the digital economy by affecting the online advertising sector and leading to consequences such as losing of a large number of employments.

TYPES aims to cope with this challenge by defining, implementing, and validating in pre-market status a holistic framework of technologies and tools that guarantees both transparency and privacy preservation, gives the end user control upon the amount of information he/she is willing to share, and defines privacy-by-design solutions. In particular, these tools should enable the end user:

i) to configure the privacy settings so that only the information allowed by the end-user is collected by online advertising platforms;
ii) to understand the flow of their information within the online advertising ecosystem and how it is being used;
iii) to detect episodes of information collection occurring without consent and identify the offender;
iv) to know the value of their data.

Innovation Potential:
The TYPES ecosystem can be divided in three main areas:
- Detection and safeguarding
- Data valuation
- Privacy by design solutions

TYPES will demonstrate solutions that protect user’s privacy while empowering them to control how their data is used by service providers for advertising purposes. At the same time, TYPES will make it easier to verify whether users’ online rights are respected and if personal data is exchanged for a reasonable value-added to users.
To achieve this, there have been defined a clear set of demonstrators:
- Web-browser plug-in for privacy violation detection and safeguarding
- Proxy for privacy violation detection and safeguarding
- Data valuation tools
- Privacy preserving data broker

Work performed from the beginning of the project to the end of the period covered by the report and main results achieved so far

The project has achieved all the objectives and milestones planned for the 1st year without any relevant deviation or issue to remark. All the partners are showing an excellent performance on those tasks where they are participating as defined in the DoA. Therefore, the project management and technical coordination are satisfied with the current execution of the project.

As stated in the DoA, the first year of the project has several major objectives: (i) define end-users, industry stakeholders and technical requirements, (ii) design all the technology elements described in the different technical WPs (WP3, WP4, WP5 and WP6), (iii) define an initial TYPES framework containing the elements designed in the technical WPs, and (iv) carry out a continuous dissemination and communication activity that allows (even from the very beginning of the project) advertise the goal and technologies that the TYPEs project is pursuing in order to engage end-users and industrial stakeholders. All these major objectives have been successfully achieved in due time. In addition, in the last part of the first year (after month 9) we have started working on the implementation of the different technological solutions in order to deliver them in month 21. Some of this implementations are advancing quite well and are leading to promising tools that may have an important socio-economic impact as we expected when defining the project.

The project’s progress is regularly monitored by (more or less) quarterly plenary meetings. During these sessions all members of the consortium meet for 2 to 3 days and have specific agenda items where each WP leader organises a slot to present the progress of the work, and the partners present the advances they have on the different tasks. Beyond that, we are having regular conf. calls (every 2 or 3 weeks) where the Technical Manager defines relevant issues to discuss regarding the progress of the project and, in addition, there is a brief summary from WP leaders regarding the updates happening in their respective work packages.

We are also implementing an intensive dissemination activity that includes talks in different forums: scientific, industrial, policy-makers, society, etc. In addition, some ideas developed in the TYPEs project have been reported in important media – and this, of course, is an important vehicle to bring TYPES to the society.
Overall, we conclude that TYPES is aligned to the work and objectives defined in the DoA for the first year of the project. This establishes a very good point to guarantee the successful completion of the objectives for the remaining project time.

Progress beyond the state of the art and expected potential impact (including the socio-economic impact and the wider societal implications of the project so far)

TYPES has designed and has started to implemented novel solutions that goes beyond the current state of the art solutions in order to provide end users tools that allow them to: (i) better understand the current use that the online advertising market is doing of their data, (ii) gain control over its own personal data to decide what part of their information can be exploited, (iii) block those players presenting non-ethics practices . This includes tools that detect non-ethical practices (WP3), tools that allow end user to prevent the exploitation of their personal data to those players they do not trust (WP4), tools that inform end-users about the value of their online profile as well as tools that provide an estimation of the value they generate for some players exploiting their personal information (WP5), and novel methodologies that propose privacy-by-design solutions introducing a novel Data Broker element in the market as a trusted entity that guarantees the good use of the end users personal information (WP6).

We except to maximize the impact of the project once the technical solutions are implemented and are delivered to end-users, adtech industry or regulators. However, in the first year of the project we have already carried out a number of activities in order to disseminate the project so we ensure that stakeholders, regulators and end users are aware of the existence or TYPES so once the technology is ready we have already established the appropriate connections to bring it to the right players in order to maximize the impact of the project. Towards this end we highlight the following activities in the first year:

-Dissemination to Scientific Community: TYPES results have been disseminated in 9 scientific article published in top academic journals and conferences. These activities have included the presence of TYPES members in major conferences such as ACM CoNEXT, WWW or ACM HotNETs.

-Dissemination to Industry: TYPES has established a strong liaison with the Data Transparency Lab (DTL). One member of TYPES (Nikos Laoutaris from Telefónica) is serving as Program Chair of the DTL conference organized yearly from 2014. Dr. Ángel Cuevas was invited to the last DTL conference to present the UC3M research related to the Facebook Data Valuation Tool. The DTL conference serve as a meeting point for researchers, industry and policy makers, and appears as a relevant forum to disseminate the work carried out in TYPES. In addition, TYPES have been presented to different industry players such as Google, Xerox, Ogilvy, etc. in the first year of the project. The most relevant contact to the AdTech industry happened in the flagship conference i-COM event where a researcher from TYPES (Dr. Rubén Cuevas) led a team that won a hackaton within the conference. In that conference Rubén Cuevas had the opportunity to present TYPES to many adtech companies including Ogilvy, Havas, etc. Finally, IAB is serving as the main contact point to introduce TYPES to the industry due to its role.

-Dissemination to society: Dr. Ángel Cuevas and Dr. Rubén Cuevas were invited to present part of the work they are doing in TYPEs in an event organized by a society called “Data Beers” that aims at disseminating data science to the society. The work presented got an important attention and for instance served to gather a relevant number of beta-testers for testing the technology we are currently developing in TYPES. In addition, AUI is playing an important role to disseminate the project goals and results in different forums that directly implies end-users locally in Spain and in Europe. Finally, it is important to report that some of the work developed within TYPES has appeared in major news media such as the case of FDVT appearing in international media in Spanish (El País, BBC Mundo, Semana, etc). Furthermore, at the beginning of May activities of Telefónica and UC3M (the FDVT) were reported in a documentary broadcasted in the RTS, i.e., the public Swiss Tv. Although it is part of the second year (and that is why it is not reported in the dissemination activities above) we believe it is important to report it in order to state the media attention received by the work developed in TYPES.

In terms of exploitation and business plans the project is in an early stage to have very well defined plans. However, all the partners have already initiated internal discussions in order to envision potential business opportunities, commercial exploitation and social exploitation during the second part of the project. All those initial plans have been introduced above in the description of Task 2.2.

Finally, it is important to notice that at the end of April 2016 we started to organise a workshop co-located with the ARES Conference. This conference opens a space for privacy and security EU projects to organise workshops, which creates a very good opportunity to establish liaisons with other EU projects in the context of privacy and security. TYPES is organizing a workshop together with another H2020 EU project named ReCRED. Beyond ReCRED we will use the ARES conference to know the current status of other EU projects, and try to find potential collaborations with them. The ARES conference will be held at the end of August. Several members from TYPES will attend the event.

In summary, the first year of the project has been used to set up a solid ground in order to ensure good conditions to maximize the impact of TYPES in the second part of the project. In this second part is when one of the most important elements related to impact, i.e., exploitation of the developed solutions, will take place. In addition, given the good feedback we are receiving about the technologies under development in the project, we strongly expect to achieve a very relevant impact before the end of the project.

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