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"It did not give me an option to decline": A Longitudinal Analysis of the User Experience of Security and Privacy in Smart Home Products

George Chalhoub‚ Martin J. Kraemer‚ Norbert Nthala and Ivan Flechais


Smart home products aren't living up to their promise. They claim to transform the way we live, providing convenience, energy efficiency, and safety. However, the reality is significantly less profound and often frustrating. This is particularly apparent in security and privacy experiences: powerlessness, confusion, and annoyance have all been reported. In order to reduce frustration and help fulfill the promise of smart homes, we need to explore the experience of security and privacy in situ. We analyze an ethnographic study observing six UK households over six months to present a longitudinal view of security and privacy user experiences in smart products. We find inconsistencies in managing security and privacy, e.g., contrasting the ease of granting and difficulty of withholding consent. We identify security and privacy issues in repurposing smart home devices – using devices outside of their initial intended purposes. We conclude with recommendations for design in smart home devices.

Book Title
2021 CHI Conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems (CHI 2021)