No time at all: Opportunity cost of android permissions (invited paper)

Gradeigh D. Clark, Swapnil Sarode, Janne Lindqvist

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

3 Citations (Scopus)


App permissions detail the privacy-sensitive access to users’ location, contact information, network access, and more. In this paper, we draw from the motivational work of McDonald and Cranor [18] on web privacy policies to investigate the opportunity cost for users and the United States if people would read these permission screens on mobile devices during installation or launch time. We also demonstrate the time and cost differences between different versions of Android’s permissions model. Based on our findings, an average user of Android M may spend less than two minutes annually viewing permission screens. This would mean a maximum annual opportunity cost of $1.29 and a minimum of $0.16 based on whether it was read at work or leisure. Reading detailed permissions screens in older versions of Android could require a user to spend nearly 90 minutes annually with a maximum cost of $67.24 and a minimum of $8.40. In our estimates, the United States would have to invest between a leisure cost of $36.67 million and a work cost of $293.6 million for Android M. However, these costs are small in comparison to costs needed in older versions of Android that could use up to as much as $1.87 billion in leisure costs and $15.03 billion in work costs. We conclude that updates to Google’s permissions layout has reduced the time and opportunity cost to the point where, with Android M, they are at an all-time low.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationProceedings of the 3rd Workshop on Hot Topics in Wireless, HotWireless 2016
PublisherAssociation for Computing Machinery (ACM)
Number of pages5
ISBN (Print)9781450342513
Publication statusPublished - 3 Oct 2016
MoE publication typeA4 Article in a conference publication
EventACM Workshop on Hot Topics in Wireless - New York, United States
Duration: 3 Oct 20167 Oct 2016
Conference number: 3

Publication series

NameProceedings of the Annual International Conference on Mobile Computing and Networking, MOBICOM


WorkshopACM Workshop on Hot Topics in Wireless
CountryUnited States
CityNew York


  • Android
  • Opportunity cost
  • Permissions

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