Privacy Norms for Smart Home Personal Assistants

Noura Abdi, Nicole Zhan, Marvin Ramokapane, Jose Such

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference paperpeer-review

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Smart Home Personal Assistants (SPA) have a complex ecosystem that enables them to carry out various tasks on behalf of the user with just voice commands. SPA capabilities are continually growing, with over a hundred thousand third-party skills in Amazon Alexa, covering several categories, from tasks within the home (e.g. managing smart devices) to tasks beyond the boundaries of the home (e.g. purchasing online, booking a ride). In the SPA ecosystem, information flows through several entities including SPA providers, third-party skills providers, providers of Smart Devices, other users and external parties. Prior studies have not explored privacy norms in the SPA ecosystem, i.e., the acceptability of these information flows. In this paper, we study privacy norms in SPAs based on Contextual Integrity through a large-scale study with 1,738 participants. We also study the influence that the Contextual Integrity parameters and personal factors have on the privacy norms. Further, we identify the similarities in terms of the Contextual Integrity parameters of the privacy norms studied to to distill more general privacy norms, which could be useful, for instance, to establish suitable privacy defaults in SPA. We finally provide recommendations for SPA and third-party skill providers based on the privacy norms studied.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationConference on Human Factors in Computing Systems (CHI)
Number of pages14
Publication statusAccepted/In press - 20 Jan 2021


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