[tor-dev] Human factors of security software

Bernard Tyers - ei8fdb ei8fdb at ei8fdb.org
Tue Apr 9 18:29:23 UTC 2013

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Hi Griffin,

Yes, I would agree with you that language and culture play a big role in trusting something. Unfortunately that's a bit outside my field, and also the scope of my dissertation.

What I am looking for is some suggestions, or ideas I could investigate in my dissertation. The UI of Tor tools, and how they represent the users "current status" - i.e. if s/he is secure or not, or levels of security. Do users trust more information, or less?

For example:

- - In the TBB, the only information presented to the user on his/her status is a) the colour of the onion icon (green/yellow/red), and also the information presented in the message log (either advanced or basic).

Is this enough? Is this a model understood by users?

- - In Orbot on Android, a similar model is used (with the robot's colour and hand position changing as Orbot starts up).

Again, is this model something that users understand?

It does not have to be Tor or TBB, it could be Tails for example.

Apologies, if the idea seems a bit abstract. I will try and make it more concrete. If anyone has any questions, please let me know. I have some blogposts started here http://www.diymobileusabilitytesting.net/diymut/tag/hcisec/ to give some better ideas of where I am going with this.


On 9 Apr 2013, at 18:40, Griffin Boyce wrote:

>   While I'm not quite sure it's what you're looking for, cross-cultural factors come into play a lot and seriously affect trust.  I work with an organization that (in turn) works with Chinese activists & organizers.  It's a bit of a catch-22 that tools and guides in Chinese dialects are critically important, but tools made in China aren't necessarily trusted.  (Though this is probably owing to the extreme levels of infiltration in activist communities there).  But tools that aren't trusted might be used more often than non-translated alternatives.  
> ...It's problematic.
> best,
> Griffin
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> tor-dev at lists.torproject.org
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Bernard / bluboxthief / ei8fdb

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