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Privacy: Information Privacy in Consumer Information Systems

Information on the Thesis

Type of Final Thesis: Bachelor, Master
Supervisor: Tobias Dehling
Research Group: Critical Information Infrastructures

Archive Number: 4.283
Status of Thesis: In Progress
Date of start: 2019-04-12

Further Information


Current and future consumer information system environments are characterized by increasing interconnectedness and complexity, fast-paced innovation, penetration of nearly all aspects of daily life, and global access to a sheer endless number of information systems. Especially due to the complexity of the information privacy concept, tools are required to prevent consumers from being subjected to information privacy harms, such as misrepresentations of the self, chilling effects, or discrimination. Yet, organizations and society depend on shared information, so that a middle ground must be found that allows for mutually beneficial information exchange but avoids adverse effects. There is a wealth of research opportunities with a focus on information privacy in consumer information systems. We are especially interested in information privacy–focused theses fostering consumer knowledge on information privacy, improving information systems design or organizational information privacy practices, or strengthening the current body of knowledge about information privacy with a conceptual focus.


Possible topics include, but are not limited to:

  • Consumer perceptions of information privacy
  • Privacy implications of online behavioral advertising
  • Organizational information privacy practices
  • Design, development, and analysis of information privacy–enhancing technologies
  • Decentralized information privacy–preserving information systems (eg, based on blockchains)

This is an umbrella topic since topics of interest change rapidly. Students are encouraged to propose a topic of interest to them within the topic area.

Introductory literature:

Acquisti A, Brandimarte L, Loewenstein G. Privacy and Human Behavior in the Age of Information. Science. 2015;347(6221):509–14.

Acquisti A, Taylor C, Wagman L (2016) The Economics of Privacy. Journal of Economic Literature 54(2):442–92.

Adams A, Sasse MA. Privacy in Multimedia Communications: Protecting Users, Not Just Data. In: People and Computers XV—Interaction without Frontiers: Joint Proceedings of HCI 2001 and IHM 2001:49–64.

Dehling T, Zhang Y, Sunyaev A (2019) Consumer perceptions of online behavioral advertising. Proceedings of the 21st IEEE Conference on Business Informatics. (IEEE, Moscow, Russia).

Mulligan DK, Koopman C, Doty N (2016) Privacy is an Essentially Contested Concept: A Multi-Dimensional Analytic for Mapping Privacy. Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society of London A: Mathematical, Physical and Engineering Sciences 374(2083):1–17.

Nissenbaum H (2009) Privacy in Context: Technology, Policy, and the Integrity of Social Life (Stanford University Press, Stanford, CA, USA).

Pavlou PA. State of the Information Privacy Literature: Where Are We Now and Where Should We Go? MIS Quarterly. 2011 Dec;35(4):977–988.

Peppet SR (2011) Unraveling Privacy: The Personal Prospectus and the Threat of a Full-Disclosure Future. Northwestern University Law Review 105:1153.

Smith R, Shao J (2007) Privacy and E-Commerce: A Consumer-Centric Perspective. Electronic Commerce Research 7(2):89–116.

Solove DJ (2008) Understanding Privacy (Harvard University Press).

Turner EC, Dasgupta S. Privacy on the Web: An Examination of User Concerns, Technology, and Implications for Business Organizations and Individuals. Information Systems Management. 2003 Jan 1;20(1):8–18.