Understanding the privacy implications of using context-based awareness cues in social networks

Ville Antila, Jussi Polet

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


Information from the physical world is increasingly being digitalized and shared in social networks. We share our locations, tag photos and add different kinds of informal awareness cues about the physical world to our online communities. In this paper, we investigate the privacy implications of shared context cues in social networking services. We present an experimental mobile application, which allows users to add different descriptions of context information to their Facebook and Twitter status updates. The application was used by 12 persons during a two-week user trial using their own devices and Facebook accounts. The results indicate that user-defined abstractions of context items were often preferred over more accurate indicators due to privacy concerns or discomfort in sharing. We also found out that using shared context from friends in vicinity needs careful design to overcome the extended privacy implications
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationProceedings of the PERCOM Workshops 2012
Subtitle of host publicationInternational Conference on Pervasive Computing and Communications Workshops,
PublisherIEEE Institute of Electrical and Electronic Engineers
ISBN (Electronic)978-1-4673-0907-3
ISBN (Print)978-1-4673-0905-9
Publication statusPublished - 2012
MoE publication typeNot Eligible
EventIEEE International Conference on Pervasive Computing and Communications Workshops - Lugano, Switzerland
Duration: 19 Mar 201223 Mar 2012


ConferenceIEEE International Conference on Pervasive Computing and Communications Workshops
Abbreviated titlePERCOM Workshops 2012


  • Awareness cues
  • context-awareness
  • mobile applications
  • privacy
  • sensing
  • social networks

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