Publication: (The Lack of) Privacy Concerns with Sharing Web Activity at Work and the Implications for Collaborative Search

Collaborative information seeking frequently occurs in an opportunistic and loosely-coupled fashion that is supported by awareness of others' activities on the web. Automatically sharing traces of information about web activity could substantially improve these collaborative information tasks, but conventional wisdom suggests that people are very reluctant to share information about web usage. Because work settings have different rules and practices about privacy, we carried out the first systematic study of people's privacy concerns about sharing web activity within workgroups. To provide a better understanding of privacy concerns about sharing web activity at work, we conducted a two-week diary study with 18 participants. Our study system asked participants to report on their search tasks and privacy concerns. Surprisingly, our results showed that people have little concern about sharing the majority of their activities with their work colleagues, and had even fewer concerns with sharing work-related activities. Our results provide new insights into the possibilities of sharing web activities within workgroups, and provide evidence that tools based on automatic sharing of awareness information can be feasible.

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Participants

Scott Bateman
University of New Brunswick
Carl Gutwin
University of Saskatchewan

Citation

Bateman, S., Gutwin, C. 2016. (The Lack of) Privacy Concerns with Sharing Web Activity at Work and the Implications for Collaborative Search. In Proceedings of the ACM Conference on Human-Information Interaction and Retrieval (CHIIR 2016), ISBN 978-1-4503-3751-9. 43-52. DOI=10.1145/2854946.2854977.

BibTeX

@inbook {433-the-lack-of,
author= {Scott Bateman and Carl Gutwin},
title= {(The Lack of) Privacy Concerns with Sharing Web Activity at Work and the Implications for Collaborative Search},
booktitle= {Proceedings of the ACM Conference on Human-Information Interaction and Retrieval (CHIIR 2016)},
year= {2016},
pages= {43-52}
}