"We Don't Give a Second Thought Before Providing Our Information": Understanding Users' Perceptions of Information Collection by Apps in Urban Bangladesh


Mahdi Nasrullah Al-Ameen (Utah State University)
Tanjina Tamanna (University of Dhaka)
Swapnil Nandy (Jadavpur University)
M A Manazir Ahsan (Utah State University)
Priyank Chandra (University of Toronto)
Syed Ishtiaque Ahmed (University of Toronto)

DOI: https://doi.org/10.1145/3378393.3402244

Session: 2.4. Internet content and community

Abstract: With a rapid increase in the use of digital technologies, people in the Global South including Bangladesh are exposed to a wide-range of smartphone applications (termed as apps in this paper), which offer a variety of features and services. However, privacy leakage through apps has increasingly become a major concern in Bangladesh, where the app collecting users’ sensitive information without their consent was reported in news media for privacy violation. Our study with 32 participants from varying age, literacy level, and profession in Dhaka, Bangladesh unveils the perceptions of people around data collection and sharing by the app reported in privacy leakage news. All of our participants were aware of information leakage through the app they use, where they possess varying perceptions around providing personal information, like a sense of benefit, necessity and contribution, indifference, fear, or (no) authority over data collection. Our analysis reveals the relation between users’ privacy perceptions, local infrastructure, and social practices in Bangladesh, where we identify the situated challenges that interfere with people’s understanding of privacy notice. Our results lead to a discussion on how people’s privacy perceptions are influenced by rapid urbanization and the opportunities offered by digitization in Bangladesh. Based on our findings, we provide recommendations to develop situated and sustainable strategies to enhance privacy awareness and practices in the social setting of Bangladesh, and Global South.