Jun 14, 2012 --- Smartphones may have revolutionized how we
communicate, but according to researchers at Tel Aviv University, they're also
upending traditional ideas of privacy—especially in public.
Researchers measured how the smartphone affects privacy and
behavior in public spaces such as city squares and parks and public
transportation. Even in these places, smartphone users are 70% more likely than
regular cellphone users to believe their phones afford them a great deal of
privacy, said Eran Toch, an industrial engineering professor who specializes in
privacy and information systems at Tel Aviv University. These users are more
willing to reveal private issues in public spaces, and they are less concerned
about bothering people who share those spaces, he said.
Nearly 150 participants, half smartphone users and half users of regular
phones, were questioned about how telephone use applied to their homes, and public, learning and transportation spaces. While users of regular
phones continued to stick to established social protocol in terms of phone use—such
as postponing private conversations for private spaces and weighing the
appropriateness of cell phone use in public areas—smartphone users adapted
different social behaviors for public spaces.
They were 50% less likely to be bothered by others
using their phones in public spaces and 20% less likely to believe that their
private phone conversations were irritating to those around them, the