The use of technology to access personal information in public places is increasingly common, but can these interactions induce stress? Sixty-eight participants were led to believe that extremely sensitive personal information would be displayed via either a public or personal handheld device in isolated or crowded (in the presence of strangers) conditions. Stress responses were taken in terms of heart rate, galvanic skin response and subjective ratings. As anticipated, participants showed stronger stress reactions in the crowded rather than the isolated conditions and also experienced greater stress when the information was presented on a public screen in comparison to a personal handheld device. Implications for the design of public/private information systems are discussed.