Jul 2012

Luke Hutton, Virtual Walls: Studying the effectiveness of the privacy metaphor in the real world


The virtual wall is a simple privacy metaphor for ubiquitous computing environments. By expressing the transparency of a wall and the people to which the wall applies, a user can easily manage privacy policies for sharing their sensed data in a ubiquitous computing system.
While previous research shows that users understand the wall metaphor in a lab setting, the metaphor has not been studied for its practicality in the real world. This talk will describe a smartphone-based experience sampling method study (N=20) to demonstrate that the metaphor is sufficiently expressive to be usable in real-world scenarios. Furthermore, while people’s preferences for location sharing are well understood, our study provides insight into sharing preferences for a multitude of contexts. We find that whom data are shared with is the most important factor for users, reinforcing the walls approach of supporting apply-sets and abstracting away further granularity to provide improved usability.

About Luke:
Luke’s bio on the SACHI website.