I’ve got 99 problems, but vibration ain’t one: a survey of smartphone users’ concerns (SPSM ’12)


Smartphone operating systems warn users when third-party applications try to
access sensitive functions or data. However, all of the major smartphone
platforms warn users about different application actions. To our
knowledge, their selection of warnings was not grounded in user research; past
research on mobile privacy has focused exclusively on the risks pertained to
sharing location. To expand the scope of smartphone security and privacy
research, we surveyed 3,115 smartphone users about 99 risks associated with 54
smartphone privileges. We asked participants to rate how upset they would be
if given risks occurred and used this data to rank risks by levels of user
concern. We then asked 41 smartphone users to discuss the risks in their own
words; their responses confirmed that people find the lowest-ranked risks
merely annoying but might seek legal or financial retribution for the
highest-ranked risks. In order to determine the relative frequency of risks,
we also surveyed the 3,115 users about experiences with “misbehaving”
applications. Our ranking and frequency data can be used to guide the
selection of warnings on smartphone platforms.


Adrienne Porter Felt, Serge Egelman, and David Wagner. I’ve got 99 problems, but vibration ain’t one: a survey of smartphone users’ concerns. In Proceedings of the Second ACM Workshop on Security and Privacy in Smartphones and Mobile Devices (SPSM ’12). ACM, New York, NY, USA, 33-44.

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