The impact of transparency on mobile privacy decision making

  • Jan Hendrik BetzingEmail author
  • Matthias Tietz
  • Jan vom Brocke
  • Jörg Becker
Research Paper


Smart devices provide unprecedented access to users’ personal information, on which businesses capitalize to offer personalized services. Although users must grant permission before their personal information is shared, they often do so without knowing the consequences of their decision. Based on the EU General Data Protection Regulation, which mandates service providers to comprehensively inform users about the purpose and terms of personal data processing, this article examines how increased transparency regarding personal data processing practices in mobile permission requests impact users in making informed decisions. We conducted an online experiment with 307 participants to test the effect of transparency on users’ decisions about and comprehension of the requested permission. The results indicate increased comprehension of data processing practices when privacy policies are transparently disclosed, whereas acceptance rates do not vary significantly. We condense our findings into principles that service providers can apply to design privacy-transparent mobile apps.


Mobile privacy decision making Transparency EU General Data Protection Regulation Privacy notice Consent Experimental research 



The research leading to these results has received funding from the RISE Programme of the European Union’s Horizon 2020 Programme under REA grant agreement no. 645751 (RISE-BPM H2020-MSCA-RISE-2014). The information and views set out in this publication are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the official opinion of the European Union. Neither the European Union institutions and bodies nor any person acting on their behalf may be held responsible for the use which may be made of the information contained therein.


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Copyright information

© Institute of Applied Informatics at University of Leipzig 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.European Research Center for Information SystemsUniversity of MünsterMünsterGermany
  2. 2.Institute of Information SystemsUniversity of LiechtensteinVaduzLiechtenstein

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