Lessons Learnt from Comparing WhatsApp Privacy Concerns Across Saudi and Indian Populations


Jayati Dev, Indiana University; Pablo Moriano, Oak Ridge National Laboratory; L. Jean Camp, Indiana University


The purpose of this study is to understand the privacy concerns and behavior of non-WEIRD populations in online messaging platforms. Analysis of surveys (n=674) of WhatsApp users in Saudi Arabia and India revealed that Saudis had significantly higher concerns about being contacted by strangers. In contrast, Indians showed significantly higher concerns with respect to social contact from professional colleagues. Demographics impinge privacy preferences in both populations, but in different ways. Results from regression analysis show that there are statistically significant differences between the privacy behaviors of Saudis and Indians. In both cases, privacy concerns were strongly correlated with their reported privacy behaviors. Despite the differences, we identified technical solutions that could address the concerns of both populations of participants. We close by discussing the applicability of our recommendations, specifically those on transparency and consent, to other applications and domains.

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@inproceedings {255658,
author = {Jayati Dev and Pablo Moriano and L. Jean Camp},
title = {Lessons Learnt from Comparing {WhatsApp} Privacy Concerns Across Saudi and Indian Populations},
booktitle = {Sixteenth Symposium on Usable Privacy and Security (SOUPS 2020)},
year = {2020},
isbn = {978-1-939133-16-8},
pages = {81--97},
url = {https://www.usenix.org/conference/soups2020/presentation/dev},
publisher = {USENIX Association},
month = aug

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