Ageing International

, Volume 36, Issue 2, pp 232–252 | Cite as

Privacy, Technology, and Aging: A Proposed Framework

  • Lesa Lorenzen-HuberEmail author
  • Mary Boutain
  • L. Jean Camp
  • Kalpana Shankar
  • Kay H. Connelly


The purpose of this study was to develop a privacy framework that could inform the development, adoption, and use of home-based ubiquitous technologies for older adults. We began with a five-part privacy framework, derived from the literature, and tested it through a qualitative exploration of older adults’ perceptions. Focus-group sessions were conducted with 64 community-dwelling older adults. Transcriptions were analyzed using a grounded-theory approach. Major and minor coding themes were identified, refined, and expanded upon, and transcripts were then coded using these themes. Participants’ concerns about privacy were more contextualized than our previously defined framework. Factors that influenced perceptions of privacy were identified as perceived usefulness, the importance of social relationships, data granularity, and the sensitivity of activities. Elders’ perceptions of privacy relative to the development, adoption, and use of home-based ubiquitous technologies are highly contextual, individualized, and influenced by psychosocial motivations of later life. Data analysis and gerontological theory informed the expansion of our initial framework into a new framework that considers perceived usefulness, key social relationships, data granularity, and sensitivity of activities as factors relevant to the use of in-home technologies. As elders’ naïve mental models lead to a perception of risk that may be less than actual risk, technologies should enable user-centered transparent data control. Transdisciplinary theories of privacy and aging can inform the development of a privacy framework for home-based technologies that can contribute to an optimal life in old age.


Aging Technology Adoption Privacy Autonomy Social motivation 



This material is based upon work supported by the National Science Foundation under award number 0705676. Any opinions, findings, and conclusions or recommendations expressed in this presentation are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the views of the National Science Foundation.

Conflict of Interest Notification Page

There are no potential conflicts of interest that might bias this work. None of the authors have financial or personal relationships that might influence the findings in this study.

No other individuals besides the authors provided writing assistance.

All of the authors completed a Conflict of Interest disclosure statement, in accordance with IRB protocols, for this study.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2010

Authors and Affiliations

  • Lesa Lorenzen-Huber
    • 1
    Email author
  • Mary Boutain
    • 1
  • L. Jean Camp
    • 2
  • Kalpana Shankar
    • 2
  • Kay H. Connelly
    • 2
  1. 1.School of Health, Physical Education, and RecreationIndiana UniversityBloomingtonUSA
  2. 2.School of Informatics and ComputingIndiana UniversityBloomingtonUSA

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