The impact of transparency on mobile privacy decision making

Betzing Jan Hendrik, Tietz Matthias, vom Brocke Jan, Becker Jörg

Smart devices provide unprecedented access to users’ personal information, on which businesses capitalize to offer personalized services. Although users must grant permission before their personal information is shared, they often do so without knowing the consequences of their decision. Based on the EU General Data Protection Regulation, which mandates service providers to comprehensively inform users about the purpose and terms of personal data processing, this article examines how increased transparency regarding personal data processing practices in mobile permission requests impact users in making informed decisions. We conducted an online experiment with 307 participants to test the effect of transparency on users’ decisions about and comprehension of the requested permission. The results indicate increased comprehension of data processing practices when privacy policies are transparently disclosed, whereas acceptance rates do not vary significantly. We condense our findings into principles that service providers can apply to design privacy-transparent mobile apps.

Mobile privacy decision making; Transparency; EU General Data Protection Regulation; Privacy notice; Consent; Experimental research

Publication type
Article in Journal

Peer reviewed

Publication status
In press


Electronic Markets



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