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CITP Luncheon Speaker Series: Marshini Chetty – While the Meter is Running: Helping Consumers Manage Internet Data Usage

Tuesday, November 11, 2014
12:30 pm


Sherrerd Hall, 3rd floor open space
Princeton, NJ 08544 United States + Google Map

Streaming Live:

Food and discussion begin at 12:30pm. Open to current Princeton faculty, staff, and students. Open to members of the public by invitation only. Please contact Laura Cummings-Abdo at if you are interested in attending a particular lunch.

Users on metered Internet connections can be subject to data caps or quotas on the amount of data they can send during a billing cycle. In most cases, metered connections force Internet users to perform a careful balancing act of meeting data needs versus limiting the demands of data-intensive applications, the cloud, and multiple users. Yet we understand very little about how to help consumers to track and control their Internet data usage to meet everyday goals. In this talk, I describe how we used a user-centered approach to create and evaluate a tool called uCap that helps users monitor and control data usage from Internet-connected devices in their homes. uCap was deployed in 21 homes in South Africa, India, and United States. During the study, we collected measurements on data usage and used surveys and interviews to study 10 of these homes in depth. I describe the results of our evaluation and suggest directions to pursue for empowering users to learn about, monitor, and control Internet data usage in the home.

Marshini Chetty is an Assistant Professor in the College of Information Studies at the University of Maryland specializing in human computer interaction and ubiquitous computing. Marshini designs, implements, and evaluates technologies to help users manage different aspects of Internet use from security to performance. She often works in resource constrained settings and uses her work to help inform policy. She has a Ph.D. in Human-Centered Computing from Georgia Institute of Technology, USA and a Masters and Bachelors in Computer Science from University of Cape Town, South Africa. Marshini’s work on creating consumer tools for monitoring Internet speeds won a best paper award at the CHI conference in 2011 and has been featured in popular technology blogs, including Slashdot and Ars Technica. She is determined to help make the Internet more efficient, affordable, and secure from the user perspective.