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Smartphones changing privacy perceptions

May 10, 2012 at 4:32 PM

TEL AVIV, Israel, May 10 (UPI) -- Smartphone usage is changing traditional conceptions of privacy, especially in public places, Israeli researchers say.

The researchers at Tel Aviv University analyzed the impact smartphones have on privacy, behaviors and the use of public space.

They said their findings suggest although spaces such as city squares, parks or public transportation were once seen as public meeting points, smartphone users are becoming more caught up in their technology-based communications devices than their immediate surroundings, acting as if they were inside a private "bubble."

Smartphone users are likely to believe their phones afford them a great deal of privacy, are more willing to reveal private issues in public spaces, and are less concerned about bothering individuals who share those spaces, the researchers found.

Researcher Tali Hatuka said she believes the design of public spaces may need to change in response to this, not unlike the ways in which some public places have been divided into areas designated as "smoking" and "non-smoking."

"We are entering a new phase of public and private spaces," she said.

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