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From paternalistic to user-centred security: Putting users first with value-sensitive design

Usable security research to date has focused on making users more secure, by identifying and addressing usability issues that lead users to making mistakes, or by persuading users to pay attention to security and make secure choices.However, security goals were set by security experts, who were unaware that users often have other priorities and value security differently. In this paper, we present examples of circumventions and non-adoption of secure systems designed under this paternalistic mindset. We argue that security experts need to identify user values and deliver on them. To do that, we need a methodological framework that can conceptualise values and identify those that impact user engagement with security. We show that (a) engagement with, and adherence to security, are mediated by user values, and that (b) it is necessary to model those values to understand the nature of security’s failures and to design viable alternatives.


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