"Like Lesbians Walking the Perimeter": Experiences of U.S. LGBTQ+ Folks With Online Security, Safety, and Privacy Advice presented at USENIX Security 2022

by Christine Harris,

Tags: User Studies I: At-Risk Users

URL : https://www.usenix.org/system/files/sec22-geeng.pdf

Summary : Given stigma and threats surrounding being gay or transgender, LGBTQ+ folks often seek support and information on navigating identity and personal (digital and physical) safety. While prior research on digital security advice focused on a general population and general advice, our work focuses on queer security, safety, and privacy advice-seeking to determine population-specific needs and takeaways for broader advice research. We conducted qualitative semi-structured interviews with 14 queer participants diverse across race, age, gender, sexuality, and socioeconomic status. We find that participants turn to their trusted queer support groups for advice, since they often experienced similar threats. We also document reasons that participants sometimes reject advice, including that it would interfere with their material livelihood and their potential to connect with others. Given our results, we recommend that queer-specific and general security and safety advice focus on specificity—why and how—over consistency, because advice cannot be one-size-fits-all. We also discuss the value of intersectionality as a framework for understanding vulnerability to harms in security research, since our participants' overlapping identities affected their threat models and advice perception.