Grant / January 2021

Evaluating The Digital Divide in The Usability of Privacy and Security Settings in Smartphones


With the smartphone penetration rate reaching over 80% in the US, smartphone settings remain one of the main models for information privacy and security controls. Yet, their usability is largely understudied, especially with respect to the usability impact on underrepresented socio-economic and low-tech groups. In this project we will estimate the gap in comprehension of and familiarity with privacy and security settings, ability to configure those settings, common usability issues, and understanding of the privacy and security threat models against which the privacy and security settings are supposed to protect users, and the respective effectiveness. We will compare the findings across various socio-economic groups of participants to draw conclusions about what groups are especially vulnerable to the identified issues.

Findings, Papers, and Presentations