Privacy Aspects of Health Related Information Sharing in Online Social Networks

Sadegh Torabi ; Konstantin Beznosov

12 August 2013

Abstract: Online social networks (OSNs) have formed virtual social networks where people meet and share information. Among all shared information, health related information (HRI) has received considerable attention from researchers and individual users. While considered beneficial, sharing HRI, which is personal in nature, comes with its privacy drawback. Privacy is a process of boundary regulation that is related to the individual and her perception of the surrounding environment. As a result, the subjective privacy risk perceptions associated with sharing HRI in OSN have driven people to adopt different types of behaviour, both in terms of HRI sharing and privacy risk mitigation. Through an online survey, we examined factors that affect users' perceived privacy risks along with their risk-mitigating behaviour, when it comes to sharing HRI in OSNs. The results suggest that the majority (over 95%) of participants share some HRI, with the "type'' and the "recipient'' of the shared HRI being the key factors that affect the perceived privacy risk and the risk-mitigating behavioural responses.

Keyword(s): HRI ; OSN ; Risk Perceptions ; Behavioural Responses ; Mechanical Turk ; pHealth

Published in: Sadegh Torabi and Konstantin Beznosov. “Privacy Aspects of Health Related Information Sharing in Online Social Networks,” USENIX Workshop on Health Information Technologies (HealthTech '13), August 2013, Washington, USA.:

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Refereed Conference Papers

 Record created 2013-09-10, last modified 2013-09-10

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