Location Disclosure to Social Relations: Why, When, & What People Want to Share

Sunny Consolvo, Ian E. Smith, Tara Matthews, Anthony LaMarca, Jason Tabert, Pauline Powledge


Advances in location-enhanced technology are making it easier for us to be located by others. These new technologies present a difficult privacy tradeoff, as disclosing one's location to another person or service could be risky, yet valuable. To explore whether and what users are willing to disclose about their location to social relations, we conducted a three-phased formative study. Our results show that the most important factors were who was requesting, why the requester wanted the participant's location, and what level of detail would be most useful to the requester. After determining these, participants were typically willing to disclose either the most useful detail or nothing about their location. From our findings, we reflect on the decision process for location disclosure. With these results, we hope to influence the design of future location-enhanced applications and services.


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