Research: Privacy Tipping Points in Smartphones Privacy Preferences

2015-05-01 - 2 minutes read

The aim of this research was to understand what affects people’s privacy preferences in smartphone apps. We ran a four-
week study in the wild with 34 participants. Participants were asked to answer questions, which were used to gather infor-
mation about their personal context and to measure their privacy preferences, by varying app name and the purpose of
data collection. Our results show that participants shared the most when no information about data access or purpose was given, and shared the least when both of these details were specified. When just one of either purpose or the requesting app was shown, participants shared less when just the purpose was specified than when just the app name was given.
We found that the predominant factor affecting users’ choices was the purpose for data access. In our study the purpose varied from being not specified, to vague, to being very specific. Participants were more willing to disclose data when no purpose was specified. When a vague purpose was shown, participants became more privacy-aware and were less willing
to disclose their information. When specific purposes were shown, participants were more willing to disclose, provided
the purpose for requesting the information appeared to be beneficial to them, while participants shared the least when
the purpose for data access was solely beneficial to developers.

Privacy Tipping Points in Smartphones Privacy Preferences
Fuming Shih, Ilaria Liccardi, Daniel J. Weitzner
CHI 2015 – ACM SIGCHI Conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems.