Exploring the Privacy Concerns of Bystanders in Smart Homes from the Perspectives of Both Owners and Bystanders

Authors: Ahmed Alshehri (Colorado School of Mines), Joseph Spielman (Colorado School of Mines), Amiya Prasad (Colorado School of Mines), Chuan Yue (Colorado School of Mines)

Volume: 2022
Issue: 3
Pages: 99–119
DOI: https://doi.org/10.56553/popets-2022-0064

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Abstract: Smart home IoT devices collect data not only from owners of the devices, but also from bystanders in a smart home (e.g., visiting family members, friends, or domestic workers). Existing research mainly considered the privacy concerns of bystanders from their own perspectives. In this paper, we design and conduct a survey study to more comprehensively explore the privacy concerns of bystanders from the perspectives of both owners and bystanders. For owners, we investigate their understanding of their own data practices, their views on bystanders’ privacy, and their willingness to negotiate data practices with bystanders. For bystanders, we investigate their privacy concerns, their expectations of disclosures by owners, and their willingness to share their data with owners. We recruited 200 owners and 100 bystanders. We found that most owners of smart homes recognize the privacy rights of bystanders, do not fully understand their own data practices, and are willing to address the privacy concerns of trusted bystanders. We also found that most bystanders have concerns about their privacy in other people’s smart homes, do not expect owners to disclose data practices, and are willing to share data about them with owners if they consent. Reaching a temporary agreement about data practices between owners and bystanders might require some negotiation. So, we also explore the willingness of owners and bystanders on negotiating data collection, storage, and sharing in smart homes. We found that many owners and bystanders have different preferences regarding negotiating data practices. Based on our findings, we provide recommendations for enhancing the privacy protection in smart homes.

Keywords: Privacy, Smart home devices, Owners, Bystanders

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