An Evaluation of the User Experience and Privacy Concerns of Individuals Misusing Opioids Using a Location Tracking Mobile Application


New forms of data, including location data, may improve the effectiveness of interventions for preventing and treating OUD, increase access to treatment, and address racial and ethnic disparities. This qualitative study aimed to identify factors that contribute to users’ experience with a publicly available location-tracking mobile app, and investigate their privacy and ethical concerns. The study had a final sample of 30 participants, 15 male and 15 female. The study suggests that a simple onboarding process and convenient experience can enhance participant adherence to the study app and other similar location-based research apps. However, the study also found that participants had concerns about privacy and transparency about locational privacy when sharing their location data. To improve the app, researchers suggest incorporating user behavior earlier in the app development stage. The study also highlights the importance of addressing ethical and privacy concerns such as limiting the types of collected data, incorporating data encryption and retention strategies, giving access to research staff only, and not sharing the data with third-party companies or law enforcement agencies to increase user satisfaction.

Publication Year: 2023

Lead Author: Maryam Hassani

Journal: Substance Use and Misuse