Indiana University Bloomington

School of Informatics and Computing

Technical Report TR735:
Can You Hear Me Now?: A Technical Report on Combining Audio with Privacy Permissions

SHAKTHIDHAR REDDY GOPAVARAM, Indiana University, OMKAR BHIDE, Indiana University, JEAN CAMP, Indiana University
(Jun 2017), 21
[This is being posted for sharing with the FTC as a tech report only. It is Ph.D. work, but a first draft.]
The Android and iOS privacy ecosystems are grounded in the permissions, which provide information to and control of access to phone resources. These are instrumented with a combination of permission manifests at the time an app is selected, resource warnings at first use, and per-resource controls. As yet the controls provided in the form of permissions has proven insufficient to address privacy concerns and prevent selection of malicious apps. Here we alter the visual presentation, the media of the presentation, and the timing of permissions information. The goal is to make it simple to compare permissions (and thus privacy) of different apps when the person is focused on the task of comparing and selecting apps. We provide aggregate ratings which allow for simple comparisons, and add a small audio feedback component. Our goal is timely, comprehensible, cognitively simple permissions. Specifically we test risk information with padlock icons and short audio notifications. The combined sound and icons were significant. Overall, these simple privacy cues has a consistent effect on app choices. Adding sound as a form of feedback and simplifying comparison of apps makes significant change in individual decision-making. In the aggregate even small biases towards more privacy in individual apps and in indi- vidual phones could have an impact on the Android ecosystem.

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