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“It Is a Topic That Confuses Me” – Privacy Perceptions in Usage of Location-Based Applications
Citation key poikela2016a
Author Poikela, Maija and Kaiser, Felix
Title of Book European Workshop on Usable Security (EuroUSEC)
Year 2016
Address Geneva
Publisher Internet Society
Abstract Location-based applications bring ever more possibilities for the users: finding a soulmate, locating good restaurants in vicinity, or tracking a lost phone. Benefits are abundant, but, whether the user realizes it or not, so are the risks. This raises questions about what the users of location-based applications think happens with their location data, whether they see the usage as a tradeoff between benefits and risks, and whether they attempt to protect themselves from privacy risks. We conducted a set of semi-structured interviews (N = 41) with an explorative approach to investigate smartphone users' perceptions of location-based applications: what are the benefits that have been experienced, the risks that cause concern, and the expectations of what happens with the location data. This study suggests that users who see the most benefits in location-based applications are the most trusting towards governmental organizations or companies behind these applications. Also mistrust was reported, and these participants were found to see the most risks in location-based applications. The participants represented 14 different nationalities; cultural aspects were assessed using Hofstede's cultural dimensions of power distance and individualism. The results suggest cultural differences in perceptions of concern of surveillance and user profiling, as well as in feelings of powerlessness. Interestingly, participants with some limitations in their knowledge of location-based applications said more often than others that there are no risks in using location-based applications. On the other hand, participants with good knowledge seem to be protecting themselves from privacy risks more than others.
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