MTurkers and Privacy

A new study  looked at what information people considered private and what they did not–Turkers were told about a new stress-mitigation app called the ‘Calm Coach’ and then asked about demographics; work and finances; physical, medical, and psychological health; life style; and sexual activities. Some people saw a link for a privacy policy about the app and some were not–the idea being that people who saw the link for the privacy policy would give more information than people who didn’t see the link. And people gave them the info–with 85% said the info wasn’t too personal or sensitive. Some reasons why: the information seemed appropriate for the app,  that the survey was on MTurk, and that the survey was hosted by UC Berkeley.

I’m not really surprised with this, since my own privacy research says that privacy concerns are highly contextual (as evidenced here) and that people pretty much ignore privacy policies.

The authors suggest that there were too many confounds in the experiment, and plan to use Turkers with less experience next time.

.Cite: Coen, Rena, Jennifer King, and Richmond Wong. “The Privacy Policy Paradox.” In Symposium on Usable Privacy and Security (SOUPS). 2016.

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