Eliminating Stop-Points in the Installation and Use of Anonymity Systems: a Usability Evaluation of the Tor Browser Bundle

Abstract

Broad-based participation in anonymizing technology can be hindered by a lack of usability. Since systems such as Tor give 1 n anonymity, the existence of stop-points is of particular concern because wider adoption of Tor equals better anonymity for all users of the system. Stop points are places in an interface at which an individual is at risk from being presented with a situation which may prevent them from moving forward with installation or use. Sixty four percent of users in our study encountered at least one stop-point while using the Tor Browser Bundle. While each stop-point may be minor in isolation, the cumulative effect is great and has the potential to harm the overall anonymity of the system. In this paper we enumerate these stop points and detail specific design changes that may address them. We also provide more generic but generalizable recommendations for the design of anonymity systems. Taken together, these suggestions may enhance usability and thus anonymity of individual users as well as system level anonymity.

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Cite this paper

@inproceedings{Norcie2012EliminatingSI, title={Eliminating Stop-Points in the Installation and Use of Anonymity Systems: a Usability Evaluation of the Tor Browser Bundle}, author={Greg Norcie and Kelly Caine and L Jean Camp}, year={2012} }