Institute for Software Research
School of Computer Science, Carnegie Mellon University


When Are User Comfortable Sharing
Locations with Advertisers?

Patrick Gate Kelley, Michael Benisch
Lorrie Faith Cranor, Norman Sadeh

October 2010

Also appears as CyLab Technical Report CMU-ISR-10-017


Keywords: Privacy, user studies, advertising, expressiveness, location-based sharing

As smartphones and other mobile computing devices have increased in ubiquity, advertisers have begun to realize a more effective way of targeting users and a promising area for revenue growth: location-based advertising. This trend brings to bear new questions about whether or not users will adopt products involving this potentially invasive form of advertising and what sorts of protections should be given to users. Our real-world user study of 27 participants echoes earlier findings that users have significant privacy concerns regarding sharing their locations with advertisers. However, we examine these concerns in more detail and find that they are complex (e.g., relating to not only the quantity of ads, but the locations they receive them at). With advanced privacy settings users stated they would feel more comfortable and share more information than with a simple opt-in/opt-out mechanism.

10 pages

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