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Understanding Perceptions of Smart Devices

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Financial Cryptography and Data Security (FC 2020)

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Abstract

We explored perceptions regarding the value and sensitivity of the data collected by a variety of everyday smart devices. Via semi-structured interviews, we found that people’s conceptualizations of operational details and privacy and security threats of “smart” functions are greatly limited. Our findings point to the need for designs that readily enable users to separate the physical and digital aspects of device operation and call for further exploration of the design space of privacy and security controls and indicators for smart devices.

H. Hadan and S. Patil—Understanding Perceptions of Smart Devices, Proceedings of AsiaUSEC ‘20, Financial Cryptography and Data Security 2019 (FC). February 14, 2020 Kota Kinabalu, Sabah, Malaysia Springer, 2020.

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Notes

  1. 1.

    In the rest of the paper, we use the term smart devices to refer to any typical household device or object with augmented capabilities and/or Internet connectivity.

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Acknowledgments

We thank the study participants. We are grateful to anonymous reviewers for feedback that helped improve the paper.

Author information

Authors and Affiliations

Authors

Corresponding author

Correspondence to Sameer Patil .

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Editors and Affiliations

Appendix

Appendix

1.1 Participant Demographics and Smart Device Ownership

Table 1. Demographics of the sample
Table 2. Smart device ownership or willingness to purchase

1.2 Results of the Ranking Exercises

Fig. 1.
figure 1

Ranking of data sensitivity and device benefit

1.3 Screening Questionnaire

Thank you for your interest in participating in our study on Understanding People’s Use and Perceptions of Internet-Connected Everyday Objects.

Please fill out this brief 1-minute questionnaire regarding yourself and your experience of using Internet-connected devices. We will use your answers to determine if you are eligible to participate in the study.

If you qualify, we will contact you via email for a 45–60 minute in-person/video conference/telephone interview for which you will receive $10 cash/cash equivalent (for in-person interview) or $10 Amazon gift certificate (for video interview) as a token of our appreciation for your participation. If you do not qualify for participation, your responses will be safely discarded.

  1. 1.

    What is your Year of Birth?

  2. 2.

    What is your Gender?

    1. (a)

      Male

    2. (b)

      Female

    3. (c)

      Something else. Please specify:

    4. (d)

      Do not wish to answer

  3. 3.

    How long have you been living in the United States?

    1. (a)

      All my life

    2. (b)

      Less than a year

    3. (c)

      1 year

    4. (d)

      2 years

    5. (e)

      3 years

    6. (f)

      4 years

    7. (g)

      5 years

    8. (h)

      6 years

    9. (i)

      7 years

    10. (j)

      8 years

    11. (k)

      9 years

    12. (l)

      10 years

    13. (m)

      More than 10 years

  4. 4.

    Are you a resident of Bloomington, Indiana?

    1. (a)

      Yes

    2. (b)

      No

  5. 5.

    Are you affiliated with Indiana University Bloomington?

    1. (a)

      Yes

    2. (b)

      No

  6. 6.

    [If YES to Q5] What is your affiliation with Indiana University Bloomington? (Check all that apply.)

    1. (a)

      Undergraduate Student

    2. (b)

      Graduate Student

    3. (c)

      Faculty

    4. (d)

      Staff

    5. (e)

      Retired

    6. (f)

      Something else. Please specify:

  7. 7.

    [If Q6 is answered as Faculty, Staff, Retired] What department or school are you affiliated with?

  8. 8.

    [If Q6 is answered as Undergraduate Student, Graduate Student] What is your major/field of study?

  9. 9.

    Which of the following Internet-connected device(s) do you own?

    1. (a)

      TV

    2. (b)

      Thermostat

    3. (c)

      Speaker (e.g., Amazon Echo, Google Home, etc.)

    4. (d)

      Refrigerator

    5. (e)

      Light bulb

    6. (f)

      Doorbell

    7. (g)

      Door lock

    8. (h)

      Burglar alarm

    9. (i)

      Toy

    10. (j)

      Small household appliance (e.g., Coffee maker, Toaster, Crock pot, etc.)

    11. (k)

      Garage door opener

    12. (l)

      Car

    13. (m)

      Other. Please specify:

  10. 10.

    How would you rate your familiarity with the following concepts or tools?

figure bw
  1. 11.

    Please indicate whether you think each statement is true or false. Please select “I’m not sure” if you don’t know the answer.

 

True

False

I’m not sure

Incognito mode/private browsing mode in browsers prevents websites from collecting information about you

Tor can be used to hide the source of a network request from the destination

A VPN is the same as a proxy server

IP addresses can always uniquely identify your computer

HTTPS is standard HTTP with SSL to preserve the confidentiality of network traffic

A request coming from a proxy server cannot be tracked to the original source

  1. 12.

    How would you prefer to be interviewed? (Check all that apply.)

    1. (a)

      In-person

    2. (b)

      Telephone

    3. (c)

      Video Conference (e.g., Zoom)

  2. 13.

    If you qualify for the study, which email address should we use to contact you for scheduling a study session?

1.4 Semi-structured Interview Protocol

The interview should take around 45–60 minutes. I would like to ask you some questions about Internet-connected objects and devices you commonly use. It could be any object that connects to the Internet in some way. Some examples are security cameras, thermostats, TVs, etc. I would like to ask about your experiences of using such objects and devices and your thoughts on how they operate.

Before we start, do you have any questions?

  1. 1.

    Tell me a little bit about yourself.

  2. 2.

    Tell me your experience with technology.

  3. 3.

    Tell me some Internet-connected objects or devices you commonly use.

For participants who do not own a smart device, ask the following questions:

  1. 4.

    Have you ever considered getting one? Could you give me some examples?

  2. 5.

    [If No to Q4] What has prevented you from getting one?

  3. 6.

    [If Yes to Q4] Imagine that you have a (the item mentioned in Q4 or each of the following devices: Smart Speaker, Smart TV, Smart Weighing Scale, Smart Refrigerator, Smart Toy, Smart Thermostat, Anything else the participant thinks could be Internet-connected): How would you set it up?

  4. 7.

    How would you use it? What would be the process?

  5. 8.

    What data do you think it would use?

  6. 9.

    How do you think it would use this data?

  7. 10.

    What is your opinion about the data being collected and used?

  8. 11.

    What is the benefit or value you perceive in this data?

  9. 12.

    How do you perceive the sensitivity of the data?

  10. 13.

    How often do you think it would use this data?

  11. 14.

    How often do you think you would interact with it?

  12. 15.

    How or where do you think it would store this data?

    1. (a)

      What do you mean by cloud/local/etc.?

    2. (b)

      Who will provide the storage service?

    3. (c)

      Where is the storage located?

    4. (d)

      What kind of storage is it?

    5. (e)

      How will the storage protect your data from unauthorized access?

  13. 16.

    Who do you think owns this data?

    1. (a)

      How do you think they would access it?

    2. (b)

      Why do you think they own the data?

    3. (c)

      Why would they want to own the data?

    4. (d)

      What could they do with the data?

  14. 17.

    Who do you believe can see this data? How do you think they access it?

  15. 18.

    What benefit or value do you perceive other parties can get from this data (e.g., anyone else besides yourself, such as your friends, colleagues, other companies, device manufacturers, government, etc.)? Why?

  16. 19.

    Do you think you would be able to control or access this data? Why or why not?

    1. (a)

      What rights do you think you would have over the data?

    2. (b)

      What rights would you like to have over the data?

    3. (c)

      Why do you believe so?

    4. (d)

      Would you like to have control and access? If yes, how would you want to view/access/control the data? If no, why not?

  17. 20.

    What do you think the data collected by this device is worth? Why?

  18. 21.

    Who would pay for this data? (May need to inform the participant that different parties could have different valuations.)

  19. 22.

    How do you handle or manage the data collected about you by this device?

    1. (a)

      If the person does not manage or handle data: Why not?

    2. (b)

      If the person does manage or handle data: Why do you do it this way?

    3. (c)

      If the person wishes to manage or handle data but cannot do it or cannot do it well: What would make it easier or more convenient for you to manage the data?

For smart device owned by the participant, ask following questions:

  1. 23.

    When did you buy it?

  2. 24.

    Why did you buy it?

  3. 25.

    How did you set it up?

  4. 26.

    Could you please describe your experience? How do you use it? What is the process?

  5. 27.

    How do you think it operates?

  6. 28.

    What data do you think it uses?

  7. 29.

    Why do you think it uses this data?

  8. 30.

    How do you think this data is used?

  9. 31.

    What is your opinion about the data being collected and used?

  10. 32.

    What is the benefit or value you perceive in this data?

  11. 33.

    How do you perceive the sensitivity of the data?

  12. 34.

    How often do you think it uses this data?

  13. 35.

    How often do you interact with it?

  14. 36.

    How or where do you think it stores these data?

    1. (a)

      What do you mean by cloud/local/etc.?

    2. (b)

      Who do you think provides the storage service?

    3. (c)

      Where is the storage located?

    4. (d)

      What kind of storage is it?

    5. (e)

      How will the storage protect your data from unauthorized access?

  15. 37.

    Who do you think owns this data?

    1. (a)

      How do you think they access it?

    2. (b)

      Why do you think they own the data?

    3. (c)

      Why would they want to own the data?

    4. (d)

      What could they do with the data?

  16. 38.

    Who do you believe can see this data? How do you think they access it?

  17. 39.

    What benefit or value do you perceive other parties can get from this data (e.g., anyone else besides yourself, such as your friends, colleagues, other companies, device manufacturers, government, etc.)? Why?

  18. 40.

    Do you think you can control or access this data? Why or why not?

    1. (a)

      What rights do you think you have over the data?

    2. (b)

      What rights would you like to have over the data?

    3. (c)

      Why do you believe so?

    4. (d)

      Would you like to have control and access? If yes, how would you want to view/access/control the data? If no, why not?

  19. 41.

    What do you think the data collected by this device is worth? Why?

  20. 42.

    Who would pay for this data? (May need to inform the participant that different parties could have different valuations.)

  21. 43.

    How do you handle or manage the data collected about you by this device?

    1. (a)

      If the person does not manage or handle: Why not?

    2. (b)

      If the person does manage or handle: Why do you do it this way?

    3. (c)

      If the person wishes to manage or handle but cannot do it or cannot do it well: What would make it easier or more convenient for you to manage the data?

Give participants handouts and ask the following questions:

  1. 44.

    Here is a sheet of paper that has various common objects that are augmented with smart Internet-connected capabilities. Could you please write down your ranking of these devices in terms of the benefit or value you expect from them? Please rank in order starting from the most beneficial and ending with the least beneficial.

Device

Rank

Smart Speaker (e.g., Echo, Alexa, Google Home)

 

Smart TV

 

Smart thermostat

 

Smart doorbell

 

Smart toy

 

Smart refrigerator

 

Internet connected home security camera

 

Smart light bulb

 

Smart household appliance (e.g., Coffee maker, Toaster, Crock pot, etc.)

 

Smart car

 
  1. (a)

    Could you elaborate why you ranked the devices the way you did?

  2. (b)

    Why do you think [device] is the most beneficial one?

  3. (c)

    Why do you think [device] is the least beneficial one?

  1. 45.

    Here is another sheet of paper that has the same common objects that are augmented with smart Internet-connected capabilities. This time could you please write down your ranking of these devices in terms of your opinion regarding the sensitivity of the data they collect and process? Please rank in order starting from the most sensitive and ending with the least sensitive.

Device

Rank

Smart Speaker (e.g., Echo, Alexa, Google Home)

 

Smart TV

 

Smart thermostat

 

Smart doorbell

 

Smart toy

 

Smart refrigerator

 

Internet connected home security camera

 

Smart light bulb

 

Smart household appliance (e.g., Coffee maker, Toaster, Crock pot, etc.)

 

Smart car

 
  1. (a)

    Could do you elaborate why you ranked the devices the way you did?

  2. (b)

    Why do you think [device] is the most sensitive one?

  3. (c)

    Why do you think [device] is the least sensitive one?

Wrap-up:

  1. 46.

    Is there anything you want to add?

  2. 47.

    Is there any other question I should have asked?

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Hadan, H., Patil, S. (2020). Understanding Perceptions of Smart Devices. In: Bernhard, M., et al. Financial Cryptography and Data Security. FC 2020. Lecture Notes in Computer Science(), vol 12063. Springer, Cham. https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-030-54455-3_8

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