Your Location has been Shared 5,398 Times! A Field Study on Mobile App Privacy Nudging (CMU-ISR-14-116)
Smartphone users are often unaware of the data collected by apps running on their devices. We report on a study that evaluates the benefits of giving users an app permission manager and of sending them nudges intended to raise their awareness of the data collected by their apps. Our study provides both qualitative and quantitative evidence that these approaches are complementary and can each play a significant role in empowering users to more effectively control their privacy. For instance, even after a week with access to the permission manager, participants benefited from nudges showing them how often some of their sensitive data was being accessed by apps, with 95% of participants reassessing their permissions, and 58% of them further restricting some of their permissions. We discuss how participants interacted both with the permission manager and the privacy nudges, analyze the effectiveness of both solutions and derive some recommendations.