Understanding Privacy-Related Questions on Stack Overflow


We analyse Stack Overflow (SO) to understand challenges and confusions developers face while dealing with privacy-related topics. We apply topic modelling techniques to 1,733 privacy-related questions to identify topics and then qualitatively analyse a random sample of 315 privacy-related questions. Identified topics include privacy policies, privacy concerns, access control, and version changes. Results show that developers do ask SO for support on privacy-related issues. We also find that platforms such as Apple and Google are defining privacy requirements for developers by specifying what ``sensitive'' information is and what types of information developers need to communicate to users (e.g. privacy policies). We also examine the accepted answers in our sample and find that 28% of them link to official documentation and more than half are answered by SO users without references to any external resources.

The ACM Conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems (CHI)