Project: Improving Availability Awareness With Relationship Filtering

Awareness servers provide information about a person to help observers determine whether they are available for contact. A tradeoff exists in these systems: more sources of information, and higher fidelity in those sources, can improve people's decisions, but each increase in information reduces privacy. In this research, we look at whether the type of relationship between the observer and the person being observed can be used to manage this tradeoff. We conducted a survey that asked people what amount of information from different sources that they would disclose to seven different relationship types. We found that in more than half of the cases, people would give different amounts of information to different relationships. We also found that the only relationship to consistently receive less information was the acquaintance - essentially the person without a strong relationship at all. Our results suggest that awareness servers can be improved by allowing finer-grained control than what is currently available.

Contact Scott Davis if you would like more information on this project.


Scott Davis Carl Gutwin
University of Saskatchewan


Using Relationship to Control Disclosure in Awareness Servers
Davis, S., Gutwin, C. (2005), Proceedings of Graphics Interface, 75-84.