Date of Original Version



Technical Report

Abstract or Table of Contents

As digital content becomes more prevalent in the home, nontechnical users are increasingly interested in sharing that content with others and accessing it from multiple devices. Not much is known about how these users think about controlling access to this data. To better understand this, we conducted semi-structured, in-situ interviews with 33 users in 15 households. We found that users create ad-hoc access-control mechanisms that do not always work; that their ideal polices are complex and multi-dimensional; that a priori policy specification is often insufficient; and that people’s mental models of access control and security are often misaligned with current systems. We detail these findings and present a set of associated guidelines for designing usable access-control systems for the home environment.


Carnegie Mellon University Parallel Data Lab Technical Report CMU-PDL-09-110