Smartphones these days are able to capture very precise data on our behavior and our surroundings (e.g. movement, orientation and location). Mobile app developers can combine and integrate these various types of data. This stimulates the growth of location-based social networks (LBSNs). At the same time, app users may be reluctant to exploit mobile apps’ full potential, not knowing what their data might be used for. In our research, we studied users’ privacy concerns and their willingness to share location information when using LBSNs.
Studying privacy concerns and willingness to share location information
Gaining awareness of others as a driver for sharing personal information
In addition to this, results show that mobile app users are driven by different kinds of benefits to share location information. Extrinsic benefits, such as rewards, have a positive, but moderate effect on willingness to share. The intrinsic benefit of being aware of someone’s activities or presence has the greatest effect. Users are willing to expose personal information to others, while being able to ‘snoop’ on others’ personal lives.
This research was part of the SoLoMIDEM project
This research took place between 2012 and 2014 as part of the SoLoMIDEM project. SoLoMIDEM (Social, Local & Mobile Identity Management) has been supported by the Flemish Agency for Innovation by Science and Technology through the ICON- project program. SoLoMIDEM investigated the development of a platform that uses big data analytics that balances highly- targeted communication with careful privacy management.