This research was conducted to validate the Location Commitment scoring criteria in the Me2B Alliance Respectful Technology Specification. The objective of the study was to understand if the requirements and passing criteria of select location tests in the Me2BA Respectful Technology Specification are appropriate. Toward that end, we conducted quantitative and qualitative studies of consumer perception and tolerance for location awareness by digital technologies. The studies explored participant understanding of what a location request is, how consumers feel about such awareness, and what are the specific parameters and scenarios that make location awareness acceptable.
The core of the research was an online survey of 363 people, in which we looked at respondent’s sentiments towards websites or mobile apps that are location aware, explored how having an account affected respondent’s feelings about location awareness, and examined how different scenarios and contexts might affect respondent’s choice of what location information was acceptable, when, and for how long. We also reviewed other interviews and focus groups studies conducted by the Me2B Alliance, in which participants discussed the kinds of information they share with digital technologies. Two primary research questions guided our work:
- How do people feel when a website or mobile app automatically knows their location?
- Under what conditions is it acceptable for a website or mobile app to know one’s location?
Based on this research, we find that, for people to consider it acceptable for a digital product to know their location, two essential conditions must be met
- The person must have agency over granting access to location information, and
- There needs to be a legitimate and understandable need for location info.
Our research supports the scoring rubric in the Internet Safety Labs Safe Software Specification. Based on this work, we are confident that the current scoring for passing/failing behavior related to a website or mobile app’s location awareness in the Internet Safety Labs Safe Software Specification accurately reflects the tolerances and sensitivities of individual Me-s and works towards ensuring respectful behavior for digital technologies.