Strahilevitz Discusses Research on Privacy and Psychology of Smart-Phone Use

The iPhone, not the eye, is the window into the soul
Lior Strahilevitz
March 5, 2013

It is great to be back at Prawfsblawg this year.  Thanks to Dan and the gang for having me back.  For my first post this month, I wanted to point everyone to the most important privacy research of 2012.  The same paper qualifies as the most ignored privacy research of 2012, at least within legal circles.  It is a short paper that everyone should read.

The paper in question,Mining Large Scale Smart-Phone Data for Personality Studies, is by Gokul Chittaranjan, Jan Blom, and Daniel Gatica-Perez. Chittaranjan and co-authors brilliantly show that it is straightforward to mine data from smart-phones in an automated way so as to identify particular "Five Factor" personality types in a large population of users.  They did so by administering personality tests to 117 smartphone users, and then following the smartphone activities of those users for seventeen months, identifying the patterns that emerged.  The result was that each of the "Big Five" personality dimensions was associated with particular patterns of phone usage.  For example, extraverts communicated with more people and spent more time on the phone, highly conscientious people sent more email messages from t