Privacy Risk Perceptions and Privacy Protection Strategies

  • Isabelle Oomen
  • Ronald Leenes
Part of the The International Federation for Information Processing book series (IFIPAICT, volume 261)

Several opinion polls have reported that many people claim to be concerned about their privacy, yet that most people in fact do very little to protect their privacy. Are privacy concerns indeed insufficient motivators to adopt privacy protection strategies? What then characterizes the users of these strategies? On the basis of a large scale survey amongst Dutch students, this paper explores the relation between privacy risk perception and privacy protection strategies in more detail. It elaborates on factors that constitute privacy risk perception, as well as three kinds of strategies adopted by individuals to protect their privacy: behavioral measures, common privacy enhancing technologies (PETs), and more complex PETs. Next, it explores the relation between the respondents’ perception and the strategies they employ in more detail to answer the question what characteristics the users of the various strategies have in terms of perception, gender and age. Gender appears not to influence privacy risk perception, yet men are more familiar with the various privacy protection strategies and use them more of-ten than women. In general, a higher privacy risk perception does not lead to the adoption of stronger or more protection strategies, except for the use of pseudonyms, cookie crunchers, anonymous email, safe email, and providing false personal data. Our analysis deepens the understanding of privacy risk perception and privacy protection strategies, yet leaves the privacy paradox unresolved.


Behavioral Strategy Incorrect Answer Identity Theft Privacy Risk Informational Privacy 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


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Copyright information

© International Federation for Information Processing 2008

Authors and Affiliations

  • Isabelle Oomen
    • 1
  • Ronald Leenes
    • 1
  1. 1.TILT – Tilburg Institute for Law, Technology, and SocietyTilburg UniversityNetherlands

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