Digital privacy challenges with shared mobile phone use in Bangladesh

Syed Ishtiaque Ahmed, Md Romael Haque, Jay Chen, Nicola Dell

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Prior research on technology use in the Global South suggests that people in marginalized communities frequently share a single device among multiple individuals. However, the data privacy challenges and tensions that arise when people share devices have not been studied in depth. This paper presents a qualitative study with 72 participants that analyzes how families in Bangladesh currently share mobile phones, their usage patterns, and the tensions and challenges that arise as individuals seek to protect the privacy of their personal data. We show how people share devices out of economic need, but also because sharing is a social and cultural practice that is deeply embedded in Bangladeshi society. We also discuss how prevalent power relationships affect sharing practices and reveal gender dynamics that impact the privacy of women's data. Finally, we highlight strategies that participants adopted to protect their private data from the people with whom they share devices. Taken together, our findings have broad implications that advance the CSCW community's understanding of digital privacy outside the Western world.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number17
JournalProceedings of the ACM on Human-Computer Interaction
Issue numberCSCW
StatePublished - Nov 2017


  • Access
  • HCI4D
  • ICTD
  • Mobile devices
  • Privacy
  • Shared use

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Social Sciences (miscellaneous)
  • Human-Computer Interaction
  • Computer Networks and Communications


Dive into the research topics of 'Digital privacy challenges with shared mobile phone use in Bangladesh'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this