“Those blimmin Ts and Cs”: a mixed methods analysis of how people manage personal information, privacy, and impressions

Authors Anouk Mols, Jorge Pereira Campos, João Fernando Ferreira Gonçalves
Published in Human-Computer Interaction
Publication date 2024
Research groups Communication in Digital Transition
Type Article


Interconnected and smart technologies complicate personal information management (PIM) because users delegate the storing, organizing, and retrieving of personal information to smart and mobile service providers. Meta-level PIM activities are required to maintain the privacy and security of personal information. This study provides insights into how users of location tracking, mobile apps, and smart home technologies perceive PIM and privacy. We turn to the privacy as contextual integrity (CI) and impression management (IM) literatures to explore informational norms and interpersonal dynamics in PIM. This study is based on a mixed methods design to analyze focus groups and interviews with 106 British and Dutch respondents. Combining unsupervised Latent Dirichlet allocation (LDA) topic modeling and thematic analysis, we reveal discursive patterns in respondent accounts of technology use and provide an in-depth interpretation of these patterns. Our findings indicate that PIM practices are associated with the perceived appropriateness of information flows, anthropomorphic interpretations of technologies, and interpersonal surveillance. Thus, impressions are managed toward social actors as well as technology providers. We contribute to PIM research with a demonstration of how PIM in mobile, smart, and location-based technology use cannot be separated from contextual factors and strategies to manage impressions of habits and behaviors.

On this publication contributed

Language English
Published in Human-Computer Interaction
Year and volume Volume 39 Issue 3-4 (2024)
Key words privacy, impression management, contextual integrity, smart home technologies, mobile privacy, Personal Information Management (PIM)
Digital Object Identifier 10.1080/07370024.2024.2325340