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the Cruiser system. In addition, a busy feature was added to the design, allowing users to block communication at will [108].

Jancke et al. also studied the social effects of a multimedia communication system linking public spaces together [165]. In their work, Jancke et al. noted that symmetry and the ability to opt out were important design components of a privacy-respecting system.

Subsequent research, however, has showed that other concerns and design features are needed for successful implementations of media spaces. In a preliminary study of the organizational impact of a multimedia recording technology in special education classrooms, Hayes and Abowd led focus groups with professionals who would experience both the benefits and the potential downsides of the technology. Hayes and Abowd discovered that in addition to control, purposefulness was a fundamental aspect of the privacy balance of their design [143]. That is, users accepted potential privacy risks if they perceived the application to provide value either to them or to some other stakeholder.

We believe that during the development of novel technologies, such as media spaces, sensing systems, or location technologies, it is important to emphasize the value proposition of the technology. Users can thus express their privacy concerns and preferences with reference to the actual needs that are satisfied by the technology.

3.1.6 Ubiquitous Computing, Sensors, and RFID

One way of conveying the value proposition of a technology is to show a working example to the intended users. This may be problematic for technologies that are still at the conceptual stage, as is the case with many ubiquitous computing applications. Spiekermann proposed and partially validated a survey to probe privacy attitudes toward ubiquitous computing technologies [271]. She presented a short video demonstrating an application of RFID technology to participants, who then responded to a privacy survey. The video scenario provided people with an experience of how the application would work without actually having to build it.

Spiekermann’s survey included questions on control, choice, and ease-of-use. Analysis identified three main concerns from respondents, namely concerns about further use of collected data, perceived helplessness, and ease-of-use of the technology. In particular, participants were concerned over a loss of control over the technology and uncertainties regarding the technology’s utility and effective operation.

More realistic demonstrations may help users imagine the everyday operation of a new technology. Melenhorst et al. combined live demonstrations of sensing technologies with interviews probing the perceived usefulness and privacy concerns of the intended users [208]. Elderly interviewees were shown several home-based ubiquitous computing applications, for example, an activity monitor that distant relatives could use to track the elderly person’s activity throughout the day. Interviewees were then asked questions about privacy perceptions and opinions. The results suggested that participants were likely to accept potentially invasive technology given an adequate level of trust in the people managing the technology and safety benefits.

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