Privacy implications of presence sharing in mobile messaging applications

Andreas Buchenscheit, Bastian Könings, Andreas Neubert, Florian Schaub, Matthias Schneider, Frank Kargl

    Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contributionAcademicpeer-review

    24 Citations (Scopus)
    23 Downloads (Pure)


    Mobile messaging applications, such as WhatsApp, provide a free alternative for mobile texting on smartphones. Mobile messengers typically also share presence information about users to indicate when a user is online. We investigated the privacy implications of such presence updates, using WhatsApp as an example. We conducted a user study with two independent groups (19 participants in total), in which we collected and analyzed their presence information over four weeks of regular WhatsApp use and conducted follow-up interviews. Our results show that presence information alone is sufficient to accurately identify, for example, daily routines, deviations, times of inappropriate mobile messaging, or conversation partners. We discuss resulting privacy implications of presence information and potential solutions to mitigate these issues.
    Original languageUndefined
    Title of host publicationProceedings of the 13th International Conference on Mobile and Ubiquitous Multimedia (IEEE MUM 2014)
    Place of PublicationNew York
    PublisherAssociation for Computing Machinery
    Number of pages10
    ISBN (Print)978-1-4503-3304-7
    Publication statusPublished - Nov 2014
    Event13th International Conference on Mobile and Ubiquitous Multimedia, IEEE MUM 2014 - Melbourne, Victoria, Australia
    Duration: 25 Nov 201428 Nov 2014

    Publication series



    Conference13th International Conference on Mobile and Ubiquitous Multimedia, IEEE MUM 2014
    OtherNovember 25-28, 2014


    • EWI-25520
    • METIS-309788
    • IR-93355
    • SCS-Cybersecurity

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