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The impact of timing on the salience of smartphone app privacy notices

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In a series of experiments, we examined how the timing impacts the salience of smartphone app privacy notices. In a web survey and a field experiment, we isolated different timing conditions for displaying privacy notices: in the app store, when an app is started, during app use, and after app use. Participants installed and played a history quiz app, either virtually or on their phone. After a distraction or delay they were asked to recall the privacy notice's content. Recall was used as a proxy for the attention paid to and salience of the notice. Showing the notice during app use significantly increased recall rates over showing it in the app store. In a follow-up web survey, we tested alternative app store notices, which improved recall but did not perform as well as notices shown during app use. The results suggest that even if a notice contains information users care about, it is unlikely to be recalled if only shown in the app store.

Presented at 5th Annual ACM CCS Workshop on Security and Privacy in Smartphones and Mobile Devices, October 2015


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