User Attitudes Toward the Inspection of Encrypted Traffic

Scott Ruoti, Mark O'Neill, Kent Seamons, and Daniel Zappala

This paper reports the results of a survey of 1,976 individuals regarding their opinions on TLS inspection, a controversial technique that can be used for both benevolent and malicious purposes. Responses indicate that participants hold nuanced opinions on security and privacy trade-offs, with most recognizing legitimate uses for the practice, but also concerned about threats from hackers or government surveillance. There is strong support for notification and consent when a system is intercepting their encrypted traffic, although this support varies depending on the situation. A significant concern about malicious uses of TLS inspection is identity theft, and many would react negatively and some would change their behavior if they discovered inspection occurring without their knowledge. We also find that a small but significant number of participants are jaded by the current state of affairs and have lost any expectation of privacy.

Scott Ruoti, Mark O'Neill, Kent Seamons, and Daniel Zappala. 2016. User attitudes toward the inspection of encrypted traffic. In Proceedings of the 12th Symposium on Usable Privacy and Security. USENIX.


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