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Research: The location we are in is affecting our online behavior

ResearchThe danger of an internet attack in our time is always present. That is why many people are skeptical about the networks they are linked to access to Internet. This is reasonable if we think that free public wireless connections can leave users vulnerable to attacks. A survey showed that the location in which someone is located affects their willingness to reveal personal information online. It seems that most users do not trust public wireless networks.

With this research, scientists wanted to check if a person's site affects their online behavior.

They also wanted to see if other privacy-related things such as terms and conditions set by a wireless network provider or the presence of a VPN affect the way people are on the internet.

One of the researchers said some people present what is called "publicness heuristic", which refers to the mindset that some have, and which prevents them from revealing private things in public space.

He said: "We wanted to know if people who have this feature to a greater extent are less likely to reveal personal information through a public Wi-Fi».

The sample (s) used in the survey came from users of Amazon Mechanical Turk. Researchers looked at their online behavior. The behaviors examined were: unethical behavior, moral behavior, disclosure of personal information, and disclosure of financial information in four different locations: cafeteria, university, airbnb, and home.

The survey also compared the online behavior of people connected to the internet via VPN and people who did not VPN as well as users who, when connected, were viewing the terms and conditions of the provider and users who did not see them.

In order to reach their results, they asked various questions to the participants, such as: "Have you ever seen pornographic material?"

They also asked the participants how much they feel comfortable sharing information such as their income or data on a loan and so on.

In order to assess the degree of publicity heuristic, some questions were asked about how safe they feel about handling a personal issue or work publicly.

The survey showed that people who had a greater degree of "publicness heuristic" were more skeptical of public networks. For example, they considered the cafeteria less secure than their home or university network. This resulted in less information being shared and less abusive behaviors when they were there.

The Airbnb network was considered to be safer than the network of a café. Participants revealed more information when the terms and conditions were in place, even if they did not have a VPN connection.

Generally, participants did not disclose information and did not display unethical behavior when they did not use VPNs and could not see the terms and conditions.

This research shows that developers have to inform users about the state of the network, as it seems that this greatly affects the on-line their behavior.

Maria Molina, one of the researchers, said in their research they are urging developers to incorporate tips such as "Warning: This is a public network" or "VPN: anonymous browsing."

X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X Sundar said: "It is important for developers to make people realize that they are in a public place so they can make good decisions about their online behavior."

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