Chapter Ninteen. Privacy Issues and Human-Computer Interaction

Mark S. Ackerman and Scott D. Mainwaring

PRIVACY CAN BE A KEY ASPECT OF THE USER EXPERIENCE WITH COMPUTERS, ONLINE SYSTEMS, AND new technologies. Knowing what to consider about users and their views of computer systems can only improve privacy mechanisms. Human-Computer Interaction (HCI) is the subfield of computer science that studies how people interact with—and through—computational technologies. This chapter examines what HCI, as a research area, offers to both those designing and those researching privacy mechanisms.


HCI is a large research field in its own right. HCI’s roots were in human factors and the design and evaluation of “man-machine” interfaces for airplanes and other complex and potentially dangerous mechanical systems. The first papers in what would later be known as HCI were published in the 1970s and concerned the design of user interfaces in time-sharing systems. The field took off with the advent of personal computers and the single-user interface in the early 1980s. HCI’s roots then were in cognitive-oriented, single-user interfaces—the so-called user interface.

HCI has since expanded to consider a variety of subareas—design methodologies, usability and usability testing, intelligent interfaces, adaptive interfaces, and so on. Of particular interest in this chapter is Computer-Supported Cooperative Work (CSCW), sometimes known as groupware. CSCW is interested in how groups of people work ...

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