Users Protect Their Privacy If They Can: Determinants of Webcam Covering Behavior
Download: Paper (PDF)
Date: 12 Aug 2016
Document Type: Presentations
Associated Event: NDSS Symposium 2016
Most notebooks sold today come with a built-in webcam, placed above the screen to facilitate users’ visual communication. What is intended to be a service seems to raise privacy concerns to some users, who may seek protection by covering the webcams of their devices. No matter how effective, this habit makes users’ actual privacy protection behavior observable to researchers. This paper presents an application of the Theory of Reasoned Action to investigate determinants that lead users to cover their notebook webcams. It is based on an analysis of face-to-face interview data collected from 113 individuals who used their notebooks in public places, e. g., libraries, cafés, or trains. These users self-reported their attitudes and subjective norms towards webcam covers and privacy in general, while the actual covering behavior was observed and recorded by the interviewer. We estimate three logistic regression models to analyze the data. Our results indicate that attitudes towards webcam covers can explain actual covering behavior. Furthermore, we do not observe that participants’ attitudes or subjective norms towards privacy have a manifest impact on the behavior.