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Tensions and Mitigations: Understanding Concerns and Values around Smartphone Data Collection for Public Health Emergencies

Lookup NU author(s): Dr Colin WatsonORCiD, Dr Ridita Ali, Dr Jan Smeddinck



This is the authors' accepted manuscript of a conference proceedings (inc. abstract) that has been published in its final definitive form by ACM, 2021.

For re-use rights please refer to the publisher's terms and conditions.


Smartphones increasingly serve as the source for, or to aggregate, a considerable amount of data that can be relevant in public health emergencies. Hence the sharing and utilisation of mobile health data, for example to help control the spread of communicable diseases, has become a relevant issue, with the COVID-19 pandemic adding a sudden urgency mirrored in debates around contact tracing apps. Building on exploratory work that indicated user perceptions and values around consent, and the notion that smartphones and mobile health data can be perceived as elements of self-embodiment, we present an online study comparing three scenarios of representative diseases undertaken during the first wave lockdown in the UK. Using a mixed-methods analysis of responses from 86 participants, we identify tensions and mitigations in user values and from those present the description of four characteristic user-groups that can inform considerations for design and development activities in this space.

Publication metadata

Author(s): Watson C, Ali R, Smeddinck JD

Publication type: Conference Proceedings (inc. Abstract)

Publication status: Published

Conference Name: 24th ACM Conference on Computer-Supported Cooperative Work and Social Computing (CSCW 2021)

Year of Conference: 2021

Pages: Article no. 330

Print publication date: 30/10/2021

Online publication date: 18/10/2021

Acceptance date: 02/04/2018

Date deposited: 16/08/2021

ISSN: 2573-0142

Publisher: ACM


DOI: 10.1145/3476071

Series Title: Proceedings of the ACM on Human-Computer Interaction