Privacy Attitudes and COVID Symptom Tracking Apps: Understanding Active Boundary Management by Users

Jinkyung Park, Eiman Ahmed, Hafiz Asif, Jaideep Vaidya, Vivek Singh

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contribution

Abstract

Multiple symptom tracking applications (apps) were created during the early phase of the COVID-19 pandemic. While they provided crowdsourced information about the state of the pandemic in a scalable manner, they also posed significant privacy risks for individuals. The present study investigates the interplay between individual privacy attitudes and the adoption of symptom tracking apps. Using the communication privacy theory as a framework, it studies how users’ privacy attitudes changed during the public health emergency compared to the pre-COVID times. Based on focus-group interviews (N = 21), this paper reports significant changes in users’ privacy attitudes toward such apps. Research participants shared various reasons for both increased acceptability (e.g., disease uncertainty, public good) and decreased acceptability (e.g., reduced utility due to changed lifestyle) during COVID. The results of this study can assist health informatics researchers and policy designers in creating more socially acceptable health apps in the future.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationInformation for a Better World
Subtitle of host publicationShaping the Global Future - 17th International Conference, iConference 2022, Proceedings
EditorsMalte Smits
PublisherSpringer Science and Business Media Deutschland GmbH
Pages332-346
Number of pages15
ISBN (Print)9783030969592
DOIs
StatePublished - 2022
Event17th International Conference on Information for a Better World: Shaping the Global Future, iConference 2022 - Virtual, Online
Duration: Feb 28 2022Mar 4 2022

Publication series

NameLecture Notes in Computer Science (including subseries Lecture Notes in Artificial Intelligence and Lecture Notes in Bioinformatics)
Volume13193 LNCS

Conference

Conference17th International Conference on Information for a Better World: Shaping the Global Future, iConference 2022
CityVirtual, Online
Period2/28/223/4/22

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Theoretical Computer Science
  • Computer Science(all)

Keywords

  • Boundary management
  • COVID-19
  • Communication privacy management theory
  • Information boundary theory
  • Privacy
  • Symptom tracking

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