The Skewed Privacy Concerns of Bystanders in Smart Environments

Maximiliane Windl and Sven Mayer

As ubiquitous computing brings sensors and actuators directly into our homes, they introduce privacy concerns for the owners and bystanders. However, privacy concerns may vary among devices and depend on the bystanders' social relation to the owner. In this work, we hypothesize 1) that bystanders assign more privacy concerns to smart home devices than personal computing devices, such as smartphones, even though they have the same capabilities, and 2) that a stronger social relationship mitigates some of the bystanders' privacy concerns. By conducting an online survey (n=170), we found that personal computing devices are perceived as significantly less privacy-concerning than smart home devices while having equal capabilities. By varying the assumed social relationship, we further found that a stronger connection to the owner reduces privacy concerns. Thus, as bystanders underestimate the risk of personal computing devices and are generally concerned about smart home devices, it is essential to alert the user about the presence of both. We argue that bystanders have to be informed about the privacy risks while entering a new space, in the best case, already in the entrance area.

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The videos as used in the survey for all devices in the social context "friend." All videos for all social contexts can be downloaded at the end of this section. All videos can be used for academic purposes only and are lincesed under Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International (CC BY-NC-SA 4.0).

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