Do You Need to Touch? Exploring Correlations between Personal Attributes and Preferences for Tangible Privacy Mechanisms

This paper explores how personal attributes, such as age, gender, technological expertise, or "need for touch", correlate with people's preferences for properties of tangible privacy protection mechanisms, for example, physically covering a camera. For this, we conducted an online survey (N = 444) where we captured participants' preferences of eight established tangible privacy mechanisms well-known in daily life, their perceptions of effective privacy protection, and personal attributes. We found that the attributes that correlated most strongly with participants' perceptions of the established tangible privacy mechanisms were their "need for touch" and previous experiences with the mechanisms. We use our findings to identify desirable characteristics of tangible mechanisms to better inform future tangible, digital, and mixed privacy protections. We also show which individuals benefit most from tangibles, ultimately motivating a more individual and effective approach to privacy protection in the future.