Privacy Norms for Smart Home Personal Assistants

Noura Abdi, Xiao Zhan, Marvin Ramokapane, Jose M. Such

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference Contribution (Conference Proceeding)


Smart Home Personal Assistants (SPA) have a complex ecosystem that enables them to carry out various tasks on behalf of the user with just voice commands. SPA capabilities are continually growing, with over a hundred thousand third-party skills in Amazon Alexa, covering several categories, from tasks within the home (e.g. managing smart devices) to tasks beyond the boundaries of the home (e.g. purchasing online, booking a ride). In the SPA ecosystem, information flows through several entities including SPA providers, third-party skills providers, providers of Smart Devices, other users and external parties. Prior studies have not explored privacy norms in the SPA ecosystem, i.e., the acceptability of these information flows. In this paper, we study privacy norms in SPAs based on Contextual Integrity through a large-scale study with 1,738 participants. We also study the influence that the Contextual Integrity parameters and personal factors have on the privacy norms. Further, we identify the similarities in terms of the Contextual Integrity parameters of the privacy norms studied to to distill more general privacy norms, which could be useful, for instance, to establish suitable privacy defaults in SPA. We finally provide recommendations for SPA and third-party skill providers based on the privacy norms studied.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationCHI 2021
PublisherAssociation for Computing Machinery (ACM)
Publication statusAccepted/In press - 12 Jan 2021
EventACM CHI Conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems - Online, Yokohama, Japan
Duration: 8 May 202113 May 2021


ConferenceACM CHI Conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems
Abbreviated titleCHI 2021
Internet address

Structured keywords

  • Cyber Security
  • Smart speakers
  • Privacy norms
  • Voice assistants
  • Amazon Alexa
  • Contextual Intergrity


  • Privacy
  • Contextual Intergrity
  • Privacy norms


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