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


A Comparative Study of Location-sharing
Privacy Preferences in the U.S. and China

Jialiu Lin, Michael Benisch, Norman Sadeh
Jianwei Niu, Jason Hong, Banghui Lu, Shaohui Guo

January 2012


Also appears as CyLab Technical Report

Keywords: Location Sharing, Cross-cultural/Comparison, Location Privacy

While prior studies have provided us with an initial understanding of people's location-sharing privacy preferences, they have been limited to Western countries and have not investigated the impact of the granularity of location disclosures on peopleās privacy preferences. We report findings of a three-week comparative study collecting location traces and location-sharing preferences from two comparable groups in the U.S. and China. Results of the study shed further light on the complexity of people's location-sharing privacy preferences and key attributes influencing willingness to disclose locations to others and to advertisers. While our findings reveal many similarities between U.S. and Chinese participants, they also show interesting differences, such as differences in willingness to share location at 'home' and at 'work' and differences in the granularity of disclosures people feel comfortable with. We conclude with a discussion of implications for the design of location-sharing applications and location-based advertising.

24 pages

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School of Computer Science

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