Privacy versus autonomy: a tradeoff model for smart home monitoring technologies

Annu Int Conf IEEE Eng Med Biol Soc. 2011;2011:4749-52. doi: 10.1109/IEMBS.2011.6091176.


Smart homes are proposed as a new location for the delivery of healthcare services. They provide healthcare monitoring and communication services, by using integrated sensor network technologies. We validate a hypothesis regarding older adults' adoption of home monitoring technologies by conducting a literature review of articles studying older adults' attitudes and perceptions of sensor technologies. Using current literature to support the hypothesis, this paper applies the tradeoff model to decisions about sensor acceptance. Older adults are willing to trade privacy (by accepting a monitoring technology), for autonomy. As the information captured by the sensor becomes more intrusive and the infringement on privacy increases, sensors are accepted if the loss in privacy is traded for autonomy. Even video cameras, the most intrusive sensor type were accepted in exchange for the height of autonomy which is to remain in the home.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review
  • Validation Study

MeSH terms

  • Freedom*
  • Home Care Services*
  • Monitoring, Physiologic / instrumentation*
  • Pilot Projects
  • Privacy*