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Several studies ranked security and privacy to be major areas of concern and impediments of cloud adoption for companies, but none have looked into end-users’ attitudes
and practices. Not much is known about consumers’ privacy beliefs and expectations for cloud storage, such as webmail, document and photo sharing platforms, or about users’
awareness of contractual terms and conditions. We conducted 36 in-depth interviews in Switzerland and India (two countries with different privacy perceptions and expectations); and followed up with an online survey with 402 participants in both countries. We study users’ privacy attitudes and beliefs regarding their use of cloud storage systems. Our results show that privacy requirements for consumer cloud storage differ from those of companies. Users are less concerned about some issues, such as guaranteed deletion of data, country of storage and storage outsourcing,
but are uncertain about using cloud storage. Our results further show that end-users consider the Internet intrinsically insecure and prefer local storage for sensitive data over cloud
storage. However, users desire better security and are ready
to pay for services that provide strong privacy guarantees.
Participants had misconceptions about the rights and guarantees their cloud storage providers offers. For example, users believed that their provider is liable in case of data
loss, does not have the right to view and modify user data,
and cannot disable user accounts. Finally, our results show
that cultural differences greatly influence user attitudes and
beliefs, such as their willingness to store sensitive data in
the cloud and their acceptance that law enforcement agencies monitor user accounts. We believe that these observations can help in improving users privacy in cloud storage systems.