Bookmark: "Report: Deceived by design"

Sebastian Greger


The Norwegian Consumer Council published a detailed report (see press release and PDF in English), documenting how Google, Facebook and Microsoft use UI dark patterns to deceive and manipulate users towards accepting low privacy defaults.

These have been discussed regularly over past weeks, but it is great to have them all documented in one report. My particular favourite are the “flow charts”, which reveal very clearly just how “difficult” it has been made to set restrictive privacy preferences (pages 40-42 of the PDF).

This stuff is in conflict with GDPR requirements in so many ways, and the exact opposite of ethical conduct:

The combination of privacy intrusive defaults and the use of dark patterns, nudge users of Facebook and Google, and to a lesser degree Windows 10, toward the least privacy friendly options to a degree that we consider unethical.
We question whether this is in accordance with the principles of data protection by default and data protection by design, and if consent given under these circumstances can be said to be explicit, informed and freely given.

I'm Sebastian, Sociologist and Interaction Designer. This journal is mostly about bringing toge­ther social science and design for inclusive, privacy-focused, and sustainable "human-first" digital strategies. I also tend to a "digital garden" with carefully curated resources.

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