Mehta, V., Bandara, A.K., Price, B.A. and Nuseibeh, B., 2016, May. Privacy Itch and Scratch: On Body Privacy Warnings and Controls. In Proceedings of the 2016 CHI Conference Extended Abstracts on Human Factors in Computing Systems (pp. 2417-2424). ACM.
In the age of ubiquitous computing increasing amounts of personal data are being logged and shared, making privacymanagement a challenging task thatmust be integrated into our daily lives. In this paper, we explore the metaphors of ‘privacy itch’ for warnings and ‘privacy scratch’ for control of privacy preferences through real time, on-body, haptic interaction technologies. To assess the utility of these concepts, we implemented a forearm wearable prototype: the Privacy Band, and conducted a small lab-based user study.

Desiging the Forearm-wearable Privacy Band

Privacy Band is an interactive prototype designed to provide users with real time, haptic, personal information privacy warnings and controls. It exploits the natural hybrid geometry of the forearm for intuitive public and private interactions.

Operation of the Privacy Band

Software components monitor the user’s personal information flows and detecting privacy potential privacy breaches and communicate with a specialised software application running on the user’s smart phone (app) that connects to the Privacy Band via Bluetooth. Depending upon the generated (category and the variation) data privacy breach, the app instructs the band when and how to vibrate. The corresponding vibe boards then vibrate accordingly creating a metaphoric “privacy itch” (until the user responds) and the user is haptically warned on his forearm. Users are briefed about the vibe board categorization on their forearm, so they could understand in which data category the privacy breach is “ongoing” or has “just occurred”, in an eyes free manner. 
To respond to the warnings, the user can simply scratch on the sides of the band without any need to look at it. A scratch on the outer side enables the user to ignore the privacy warning, and one on the inner side enables him to block the access of unintended recipient to the corresponding data item. Note that we use the word “scratch” to denote any sort of touch input to an area of the band such as scratching, pressing, sliding with pressure, squeezing, shearing or twisting by the user. 
Workflow of Privacy Band
Workflow of Privacy Band

User evaluation study

To evaluate the utility of the concept of on-body privacy management, a lab-based user study was conducted.
  • Opportunistic sampling method 
  • 11 Participants (4 female) 
  • Wear Privacy Band (prototype created for the study) on non-dominant forearm 
  • Random data generated on an android app to simulate privacy warnings (‘Wizard of Oz’ style) and sent to the participant haptically through Privacy Band
  • Interact with the Privacy Band while doing a randomized series of 3 real world tasks involving visual, auditory and physical distractions 
Data capture: 
  • Questionnaire 
  • Video recorded sessions (30 mins each) & Note-taking 
  • Think-aloud protocol 
Data Analysis:
  • Qualitative analysis based on user quotes
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