Expectation and Purpose: Understanding Users’ Mental Models of Mobile App Privacy through Crowdsourcing
Smartphone security research has produced many useful tools to analyze the privacy-related behaviors of mobile apps. However, these automated tools cannot assess people’s perceptions of whether a given action is legitimate, or how that action makes them feel with respect to privacy. For example, automated tools might detect that a blackjack game and a map app both use one’s location information, but people would likely view the map’s use of that data as more legitimate than the game. Our work introduces a new model for privacy, namely privacy as expectations. We report on the results of using crowdsourcing to capture users’ expectations of what sensitive resources mobile apps use. We also report on a new privacy summary interface that prioritizes and highlights places where mobile apps break people’s expectations. We conclude with a discussion of implications for employing crowdsourcing as a privacy evaluation technique.