Understanding Community Privacy through Focus Group Studies

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Virginia Tech


Just as an individual is rightly concerned about the privacy of their personally identifying information, so also is a group of people, a community, concerned about the privacy of sensitive information entrusted to their care. Our research seeks to develop a better understanding of the factors contributing to the sensitivity of community information, of the privacy threats that are recognized by the community, and of the means by which the community attempts to fulfill their privacy responsibilities. We are also interested in seeing how the elements of a community privacy model that we developed are related to the findings from the studies of communities. This thesis presents the results of a series of focus group sessions conducted in corporate settings. Three focus group interviews were conducted using participants from two information technology companies and one research group from the university. Three themes emerged from the analysis of these focus group interviews which are described as privacy awareness, situated disclosures, and confinement of sensitive information. These three themes capture the character and complexity of community oriented privacy and expose breakdowns in current approaches.



Community Privacy, Focus Group Studies