Participatory Sensing or Sensing of Participation: Awareness and Privacy Concerns With Smart Device Applications

Participatory Sensing or Sensing of Participation: Awareness and Privacy Concerns With Smart Device Applications

Minoo Modaresnezhad (University of North Carolina at Wilmington, Wilmington, USA) and Hamid Nemati (University of North Carolina at Greensboro, Greensboro, USA)
Copyright: © 2020 |Pages: 20
DOI: 10.4018/IJTHI.2020070108


Smart devices have become a basic necessity in this technically advanced era. Many smart device applications, when installed, collect personal data and track users' online behavior for marketing or other purposes. This study aims to explore whether users are aware of related privacy issues and whether their knowledge influences the usage of their apps. Cognate-based views of privacy indicate that privacy concern is dynamic and varies depending on an individual's characteristics and the context. Adopting this view creates the attempt to understand the effect of privacy awareness on user's behavior, considering the moderating effects of individual characteristics and application categories. The study was conducted by surveying smart devices' users and analyzing their responses to the privacy awareness treatment across eight groups of applications. Results indicate that privacy awareness impacts smart device user preferences for app usage. This influence varies depending on individual user characteristics and different application categories.
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Research Questions

In this study, we intend to investigate the effect of awareness on smart device’s users and see whether they are aware of the privacy issues related to using these devices and whether they will change their behavior towards downloading the apps in the future. According to the cognate-based view of privacy, the way an individual user processes information varies depending on the context and their characteristics. Therefore, we study users’ behavior in various contexts considering different categories of the applications and various individual user’s characteristics.

Based on the privacy literature and social cognitive theory, we hypothesize the relationships between privacy awareness and intention to download a smart device application. We conduct a pre-post experiment by surveying smart device users. We ask them about their individual characteristics such as age, gender, and level of education and analyze their responses across eight categories of applications: entertainment, games, social networking, news, navigation and weather, finance, lifestyle, and other specific applications. In this study, we are studying the impact of privacy awareness on smart device user’s privacy behavior considering their individual differences and different categories of smart device applications. Specifically, we try to determine the answers to the following questions:

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