Visible to the public Designing for Privacy - July 2021Conflict Detection Enabled

PI(s), Co-PI(s), Researchers:

  • Serge Egelman (ICSI)
  • Alisa Frik (ICSI)
  • Julia Bernd (ICSI)

Human Behavior and Policy-Governed Secure Collaboration


  • Nothing to report this quarter.


  • In our April report, we described a survey we conducted on the perceived usability of smartphone privacy settings, comparing across demographic groups.

    Building on that, we are conducting a new study to investigate whether those self-reported expectations are confirmed by behavioral observations. The goals of the new study are to better understand what difficulties users actually face when configuring smartphone privacy settings (specifically, finding and enabling them), where negative user experiences may stem from, what users understand about the implications of changing those settings, and how changes to the design of settings interfaces could make configuration easier. As with the survey, we are particularly interested in examining potential differences among users with different socio-economic backgrounds, and the implications of those differences for design.

    We conducted cognitive walkthrough interviews with a demographically diverse sample of iOS and Android users. We asked the participants to talk through configuring three smartphone privacy settings, then asked follow-up questions about difficulty and clarity. We are currently analyzing the data from the walkthroughs and follow-up interviews and preparing a paper for submission, possibly to ACM CHI.

  • Based on PoPETs reviewer comments, we are revising our paper on the survey on smartphone privacy settings for future submission to another venue (possibly CHI).

  • We revised our WEIS workshop paper describing a comprehensive model of older adults' decision-making about online information-sharing (described in our January report) and have submitted it to ACM Transactions on Computer-Human Interaction.

  • We are continuing to analyze data from interviews with nannies about their experiences with smart home devices (described in April report) and preparing a paper (or papers) for submission, likely to USENIX Security or (Proceedings on) Privacy Enhancing Technologies (PoPETS).


  • Nothing to report this quarter.


  • As we noted in our April report, our series of studies on the understandability and usability of smartphone privacy settings is being conducted in collaboration with student researchers at UC Berkeley, who will be co-authors of the papers.