BALANCING PRIVACY AND AWARENESS FOR TELECOMMUTERS USING BLUR FILTRATION
Always-on video provides rich awareness for co-workers separated by distance, yet it has the potential to threaten privacy as sensitive details may be broadcast to others. This threat increases for telecommuters who work at home and connect to office-based colleagues using video. One technique for balancing privacy and awareness is blur filtration, which blurs video to hide sensitive details while still giving the viewer a sense of what is going on. While other researchers found that blur filtration mitigates privacy concerns in low-risk office settings, we do not know if it works for riskier situations that can occur in telecommuting settings. Using a controlled experiment, we evaluated blur filtration for its effectiveness in balancing privacy with awareness for typical home situations faced by telecommuters. Participants viewed five video scenes containing a telecommuter at ten levels of blur, where scenes ranged from little to extreme privacy risk. They then answered awareness and privacy questions about these scenes. Our results show that blur filtration is only able to balance privacy with awareness for mundane home scenes. The implication is that blur filtration by itself does not suffice for privacy protection in video-based telecommuting situations; other privacy-protecting strategies are required.