A Conundrum of Permissions: Installing Applications on an Android Smartphone

  • Patrick Gage Kelley
  • Sunny Consolvo
  • Lorrie Faith Cranor
  • Jaeyeon Jung
  • Norman Sadeh
  • David Wetherall
Part of the Lecture Notes in Computer Science book series (LNCS, volume 7398)


Each time a user installs an application on their Android phone they are presented with a full screen of information describing what access they will be granting that application. This information is intended to help them make two choices: whether or not they trust that the application will not damage the security of their device and whether or not they are willing to share their information with the application, developer, and partners in question. We performed a series of semi-structured interviews in two cities to determine whether people read and understand these permissions screens, and to better understand how people perceive the implications of these decisions. We find that the permissions displays are generally viewed and read, but not understood by Android users. Alarmingly, we find that people are unaware of the security risks associated with mobile apps and believe that app marketplaces test and reject applications. In sum, users are not currently well prepared to make informed privacy and security decisions around installing applications.


privacy security android applications smartphone permissions information design 


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2012

Authors and Affiliations

  • Patrick Gage Kelley
    • 1
  • Sunny Consolvo
    • 3
  • Lorrie Faith Cranor
    • 1
  • Jaeyeon Jung
    • 2
  • Norman Sadeh
    • 1
  • David Wetherall
    • 3
  1. 1.Carnegie MellonUSA
  2. 2.Microsoft ResearchUSA
  3. 3.University of WashingtonUSA

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