Too Little Too Late: Permissions, Privacy, and Decision-Making in Android

Jean CampL Jean Camp

Indiana University Bloomington

Tuesday, March 15, 2016
4:00 p.m., ICSI Lectural Hall

Privacy controls currently provided by Android are insufficient for supporting decision-making and communicating risk during app installation. With the current interface only benefits are presented, in the form of ratings and popularity. Adding easy to understand risk cues side by side with benefit information could help people easily make app choices that are informed by the privacy risk of the app. Towards this, we conducted a user experiment with 480 participants who made a series of app choices with/without privacy priming and with/without risk communicating cues. Presenting risk communicating cues along with app benefits has a significant effect on user app choices in terms of risk & benefit trade-off. We found that priming for privacy leads to increased expressions of concern while choosing apps but does not have a significant effect on final app choices. This remains true for the social risk cues we tested. However, with or without priming those who receive risk cues change their decision-making, selecting lower risk, higher privacy apps.


Professor Camp is a professor at the School of Informatics and Computing at IUB. She joined IUB from Harvard’s Kennedy School after a year as senior member of the technical staff at Sandia National Laboratories.  She has a doctorate from Carnegie Mellon and an MSEE from UNC-Charlotte. She is the author two monographs and the editor of three other collections.  She has authored over one additional hundred sixty works, including more than one hundred peer-reviewed works as well as book chapters and invited works. She has made scores of presentations across six continents. Her patents are in the area of privacy-enhancing technologies. Her professional service has included a year as a Congressional Fellow of the IEEE under the aegis of the AAAS.