Privacy perceptions and designs of bystanders in smart homes

Yaxing Yao, Justin Reed Basdeo, Oriana Rosata McDonough, Yang Wang

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


As the Internet of Things (IoT) devices make their ways into people’s homes, traditional dwellings are turning into smart homes. While prior empirical studies have examined people’s privacy concerns of smart homes and their desired ways of mitigating these concerns, the focus was primarily on the end users or device owners. Our research investigated the privacy perceptions and design ideas of smart home bystanders, i.e., people who are not the owners nor the primary users of smart home devices but can potentially be involved in the device usage, such as other family members or guests. We conducted focus groups and co-design activities with eighteen participants. We identified three impacting factors of bystanders’ privacy perceptions (e.g., perceived norms) and a number of design factors to mitigate their privacy concerns (e.g., asking for device control). We highlighted bystanders’ needs for privacy and controls, as well as the tension of privacy expectations between the owners/users and the bystanders in smart homes. We discussed how future designs can better support and balance the privacy needs of different stakeholders in smart homes.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number59
JournalProceedings of the ACM on Human-Computer Interaction
Issue numberCSCW
StatePublished - Nov 2019
Externally publishedYes


  • Bystanders
  • Co-design
  • Collaborative privacy
  • Smart home

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Social Sciences (miscellaneous)
  • Human-Computer Interaction
  • Computer Networks and Communications


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