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UBC Theses and Dissertations

Toward investigating users' understanding, concerns, and strategies regarding private information sharing Huang, Yue


This dissertation reports on users' understanding, concerns, and strategies regarding private information sharing through technology use. We chose three technology use cases in which users share private information with diverse sharees in exchange for the use of specific technologies.} To study users' perceptions of sharing private information with other users of the same device, we conducted semi-interviews with 26 participants who had at least one shared smart speaker in their household. To investigate people's opinions on sharing private information with governmental agencies, we conducted semi-structured interviews with 44 participants to determine their opinions about various information-tracking solutions used during the recent pandemic. We collected 539 online comments about Chrome's compromised credential notification and recruited 22 participants who had received notifications to explore people's opinions about sharing their private information with a commercial company (i.e., Google). We analyzed our collected data using thematic analysis and grounded theory. We identified various concerns and challenges that participants had regarding sharing private information through technology use. We discovered that participants' privacy concerns were related to the information required to use the technologies and the data practices of each technology (e.g., data collection, data usage, data retention, and data sharing with third parties). Furthermore, we found that participants' misunderstanding of how their private information was being used may have resulted in them having privacy concerns. Moreover, participants adopted ineffective strategies to mitigate their concerns. Finally, we learned that trust played a crucial role in users' perceptions of sharing private information with various sharees. We discussed the insights from our findings and made suggestions to improve users' experiences. We suggested helping users develop an adequate understanding of how their information is shared through the technology to help them better use technology and address their privacy concerns. We recommended that technology providers deliver more effective risk management to mitigate users' concerns, for example, by providing users with more control over their shared data. By providing data transparency, technology providers may build and maintain user trust.

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