Defining location-sharing rules @USEC’12

My Privacy Policy: Exploring End-User Specification of Freeform Location Access Rules

by Sameer Patil, Indiana University, Yann Le Gall, Adam Lee, University of Pittsburgh, Apu Kapadia, Indiana University

The next session at USEC’12 concentrated on end user management and began with Sameer Patil’s presentation on their work on how users create free-form location access rules. The work addresses an issue of privacy of location information that is ever-growing in importance, as more and more mobile and online applications and services wish to gather and share this information with other users and systems to promote their services.

The study reported on the paper consisted of a questionnaire (N = 103) in which respondents were asked to specify location access control rules using free-form everyday language. Respondents of the questionnaire were also asked to rate and rank the importance of a variety of contextual factors that could influence their decisions for allowing or disallowing access to their location.

Among the findings the authors state that the people in their study found it challenging to articulate rules describing how access to their location should be controlled. As a result, most of the contextual factors that were rated and ranked highly in the questionnaire by respondents for making decisions regarding location sharing were not captured in their rules; due to this, the authors call the resulting rules as “underspecified”, which can, then, lead to user dissatisfaction when implicit rules which have not been articulated into explicit ones get overridden. As the reasons for not being able to articulate the location-sharing rules to full extent, the authors analyse the responses and suggest multiple explanations affecting users’ abilities and inabilities to deal with the rule-defining. Download this intereting paper to examine these details.

BTW I am happy to inform you that the presenter and first author of this work, Sameer Patil will be joining HIIT this summer/early fall as a post-doc researcher! At HIIT he will begin his research by continuing on his prior work on socio-technical issues on social networking tools. Welcome!!