Stanford University

A process-oriented approach to respecting privacy in the context of mobile phone tracking

Harari, G. M. (2020) A process-oriented approach to respecting privacy in the context of mobile phone tracking, Current Opinion in Behavioral Sciences, 31, pp 41-47.

Abstract

Mobile phone tracking poses challenges to individual privacy because a phone’s sensor data and metadata logs can reveal behavioral, contextual, and psychological information about the individual who uses the phone. Here, I argue for a process-oriented approach to respecting individual privacy in the context of mobile phone tracking by treating informed consent as a process, not a mouse click. This process-oriented approach allows individuals to exercise their privacy preferences and requires the design of self-tracking systems that facilitate transparency, opt-in default settings, and individual control over personal data, especially with regard to: (1) what kinds of personal data are being collected and (2) how the data are being used and shared. In sum, I argue for the development of self-tracking systems that put individual user privacy and control at their core, while enabling people to harness their personal data for self-insight and behavior change. This approach to mobile phone privacy is a radical departure from current standard data practices and has implications for a wide range of stakeholders, including individual users, researchers, and corporations.