Google Research

Keep on Lockin' in the Free World: A Multi-National Comparison of Smartphone Locking

Proceedings of the 34th Annual ACM Conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems (CHI'16), ACM, New York, NY, USA (2016) (to appear)


We present the results of an online survey of smartphone unlocking (N=8,286) that we conducted in eight different countries. The goal was to investigate differences in attitudes towards smartphone unlocking between different national cultures. Our results show that there are indeed significant differences across a range of categories. For instance, participants in Japan considered the data on their smartphones to be much more sensitive than those in other countries, and respondents in Germany were 4.5 times more likely than others to say that protecting data on their smartphones was important. The results of this study shed light on how motivations to use various security mechanisms are likely to differ from country to country.

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