Privacy in the context of Smart Home Environments : Based upon a survey of experts

University essay from KTH/Radio Systems Laboratory (RS Lab)


Smart environments, particularly smart homes have become an increasingly popular topic for research and real world implementations. Despite the popularity of this topic, there is a lack of tools to enable inhabitants of smart environments to perceive which kind of data smart devices generate and to make inhabitants aware of who is accessing their personal information and the purpose for accessing this information. These issues have caused privacy concerns among inhabitants of smart environments – who would like to ensure their personal information is only utilized for their benefits, rather than being used for malicious purposes. Therefore, smart home environments motivate the need for privacy awareness tools to help inhabitants to better understand the privacy implications when their personal information is misused. To address this problem, this thesis suggests guidelines for the design of privacy awareness tools.

A literature review evaluated instruments to conduct research about privacy concerns. The Internet Users’ Information Privacy Concerns (IUIPC) framework from Malhotra, Kim, and Agarwal was selected for the empirical part of this thesis project because it is one of the most reliable models developed to measure privacy concerns at the individual level. Quantitative data was gathered through a survey based on this framework. Data collected from 30 experts in the field of study was analyzed using linear regression analysis techniques and principal component analysis.

These survey results lead to a set of guidelines that could guide designers and service providers as to what aspects of privacy concerns they should consider and what they should concentrate on when designing privacy awareness tools for ubiquitous computing systems, such as a smart home.

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