A group of researchers, from the research team of the EPSRC-funded and RISCS-affiliated research project ACCEPT (Addressing Cybersecurity and Cybercrime via a co-Evolutionary aPproach to reducing human-relaTed risks), have won a Best Paper Award at the HICSS 2021 (54th Hawaii International Conference on System Sciences) conference. The award-winning researchers include Dr Ingolf BeckerProfessor Paul Ekblom and Dr Hervé Borrion from UCL, Rebecca Posner from TRL Ltd, Dr Tasmina Islam from King’s College London (who did the work at the University of Kent), Dr Michael McGuire from University of Surrey, and Professor Shujun Li from University of Kent. The work was jointly led by Ingolf Becker and Rebecca Posner as the equivalent first co-authors.

The award-winning work is titled “Privacy in Transport? Exploring Perceptions of Location Privacy Through User Segmentation”, openly accessible for all at http://hdl.handle.net/10125/71270.

“Unanticipated accumulation and dissemination of accurate location information flows is the latest iteration of the privacy debate. This mixed-methods research contributes a grounded understanding of risk perceptions, enablers and barriers to privacy preserving behaviour in a cyber-physical environment. We conducted the first representative survey on internet privacy concerns, cyber and physical risk taking, privacy victimisation, usage of location sharing apps and transport choices in the UK with 466 participants. The responses segregated participants into four distinct, novel clusters (cyber risk takers, physical risk takers, transport innovators, and risk abstainers) with cross-validated prediction accuracy of 92%. In the second part of the study, we qualitatively explored these clusters through 12 homogeneous focus groups with 6 participants each. The predominant themes of the groups matched their clusters with little overlap between the groups. The differences in risk perception and behaviours varied greatly between the clusters. Future transport systems, apps and websites that rely on location data therefore need a more personalised approach to information provision surrounding location sharing. Failing to recognise these differences could lead to reduced data sharing, riskier sharing behaviour or even total avoidance of new forms of technology in transport.”

Paper’s abstract

The paper’s lead co-author Dr Becker said: “Future systems will only be more connected. It will be ever more vital to design systems and services inclusively, allowing for secure and effective use by everyone. The pandemic has emphasised this need further. Our work explores people’s risk perceptions and behaviours in both physical and cyber environments, and identifies diverse views that future systems should respect. The best paper award acknowledges the importance of our work, and we are grateful for the recognition.”

The project ACCEPT’s PI Professor Li said: “We are very pleased to have received this Best Paper Award for the project ACCEPT. This work shows how important it is to consider personalised approaches to address privacy issues, in the context of geo-location sharing and other similar applications in cyber security, privacy protection and crime prevention.”

HICSS is one of major conferences in Information Systems with over 700 accepted papers and covers interdisciplinary topics in cyber security, privacy, and digital forensics. It was ranked as an A or A+ conference according to some conference rankings systems such as CORE 2018, GII-GRIN-SCIE (GGS), LiveSHINE and Qualis 2016. It is also ranked a Top 100 conference for all topics in computer science according to Microsoft Academic (https://academic.microsoft.com/conferences).

The EPSRC-funded research project ACCEPT was led by Professor Shujun Li from the University of Surrey and then from the University of Kent. It was recently completed and involved a group of researchers from five academic disciplines (Computer Science, Crime Science, Business, Engineering, Behavioural Science) and seven research organisations including six universities (University of Kent, University of Surrey, UCL, University of Warwick, University of Exeter, University of Birmingham) and TRL Ltd. It is part of the RISCS Phase 2 as an affiliated project.