Citation: A. Juels. Targeted Advertising... and Privacy Too. In D. Naccache, ed., RSA Security Conference 2001 Cryptographers' Track, pages 408-424, Springer-Verlag. 2001. LNCS no. 2020.
Abstract: The Web presents a rich and powerful tool for aggregation
of consumer information. A flurry of recent articles in the popular
press has documented aggressive manipulation of such information by
some companies for the purposes of targeted advertising. While advertisers
tout the economic and social benefits of such advertising, consumer
privacy groups have expressed grave concerns about its potential abuses,
and called for legislative policies to protect sensitive consumer data.
In this paper, we explore the notion that targeted advertising and privacy
protection need not necessarily be conflicting goals. We describe some
conceptually simple technical schemes that facilitate targeted advertising,
but also offer protection for sensitive consumer data. Some simple proposals
do not even require the use of cryptography. (As an example, we mention
an existing scheme in commercial deployment.) We also consider some
more sophisticated protocols offering greater assurance of privacy.
These involve cryptographic constructions that may be thought of as
partial, practical PIR (private information retrieval) schemes.