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Who Should Get My Private Data in Which Case? Evidence in the Wild

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As a result of the ongoing digitalization of our everyday lives, the amount of data produced by everyone is steadily increasing. This happens through personal decisions and items, such as the use of social media or smartphones, but also through more and more data acquisition in public spaces, such as e.g., Closed Circuit Television. Are people aware of the data they are sharing? What kind of data do people want to share with whom? Are people aware if they have Wi-Fi, GPS, or Bluetooth activated as potential data sharing functionalities on their phone? To answer these questions, we conducted a representative online survey as well as face-to-face interviews with users in Germany.We found that most users wanted to share private data on premise with most entities, indicating that willingness to share data depends on who has access to the data. Almost half of the participants would be more willing to share data with specific entities (state bodies & rescue forces) in the event that an acquaintance is endangered. For Wi-Fi and GPS the frequencies of self-reported and actual activation on the smartphone are almost equal, but 17% of participants were unaware of the Bluetooth status on their smartphone. Our research is therefore in line with other studies suggesting relatively low privacy awareness of users.


Herbert, Franziska; Schmidbauer-Wolf, Gina Maria; Reuter, Christian (2021): Who Should Get My Private Data in Which Case? Evidence in the Wild. Mensch und Computer 2021 - Tagungsband. DOI: 10.1145/3473856.3473879. New York: ACM. pp. 301-313. MCI-SE05. Ingolstadt. 5.-8.. September 2021