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Perceived Privacy Handling in an Amigo Extended Home Environment Application

by Abdullah Al Mahmud and Yeo Lee Chin. Final USI Project. Report: [PDF, 1M]

Perceived privacy i.e., how users perceive that their privacy is handled by the system, is one of the key issues for the user acceptance of current ambient intelligent environment applications. This project was carried out in the context of the Amigo project, a large IST funded project in which 15 European organizations work together on the development of interoperable software architectures and applications for intelligent ambient home environments. Within the Amigo project, one of the tasks is dedicated to gain insights into how perceived privacy should be handled in an ambient intelligent networked home environment. Our project consisted of designing and building a functional prototype in which the system adapted to changes in the context of the user and the user’s environment while accounting for the users control over their privacy.

A user-centered design approach was taken for which a subset of the Amigo extended home environment scenario was used. In this scenario, people can share experiences while they are located in two or more different places, for example, between two homes, or between a home and a hotel. A functional prototype was built in which photos could be shared between two locations. The Context Management Service and the User Modeling and Profiling Service from the Amigo project were integrated in the prototype. Our system added functionality by which people could set different privacy levels with regard to the content of the photos that could be shared, the precision of the actual location of people and other persons present in their environment. All these variables affect how and what people will share. Changes in the location of people were tracked by using sensors. A colored light system was used for presence notification. This prototype was developed in an iterative fashion, such that feedback from experts and end-users was generated and implemented in different phases of the project. Questionnaires and interview methodologies were used for the evaluation. Based on these results, recommendations for the Amigo software architecture and refinement of the developer’s guidelines with regard to handling privacy in the user interface and in the middleware were made. A major conclusion was that privacy settings are very different for each individual, but that for most people having 3 levels is sufficient if they can control at least one of these.

A. Al Mahmud, and Y. L. Chin, Perceived Privacy Handling in an Amigo Extended Home Environment Application, USI Final Report 978-90-444-0749-5, Department of Industrial Design, Eindhoven University of Technology, Eindhoven, 2007.