Protecting Privacy on Mobile Apps: A Principal–Agent Perspective
Although individuals increasingly use mobile applications (apps) in their daily lives, uncertainty exists regarding how the apps will use the information they request, and it is necessary to protect users from privacy-invasive apps. Recent literature has begun to pay much attention to the privacy issue in the context of mobile apps. However, little attention has been given to designing the permission request interface to reduce individuals’ perceived uncertainty and to support their informed decisions. Drawing on the principal–agent perspective, our study aims to understand the effects of permission justification, certification, and permission relevance on users’ perceived uncertainty, which in turn influences their permission authorization. Two studies were conducted with vignettes. Our results show that certification and permission relevance indeed reduce users’ perceived uncertainty. Moreover, permission relevance moderates the relationship between permission justification and perceived uncertainty. Implications for theory and practice are discussed.