Privacy as Part of the App Decision-Making Process (CMU-CyLab-13-003)
Smartphones have unprecedented access to sensitive personal information. While users report having privacy concerns, they may not actively consider privacy while downloading apps from smartphone application marketplaces. Currently, Android users have only the Android permissions display, which appears after they have selected an app to download, to help them understand how applications access their information. We investigate how permissions and privacy could play a more active role in app-selection decisions. We designed a short "Privacy Facts" display, which we tested in a 20-participant lab study and a 366-participant online experiment. We found that by bringing privacy information to the user when they were making the decision and by presenting it in a clearer fashion, we could assist users in choosing applications that request fewer permissions.