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Use of Privacy-Enhancing Technologies in Germany and China—A Qualitative Study

Arno Nym

Information on the Thesis

Type of Final Thesis: Master
Supervisor: Ali SunyaevTobias Dehling
Research Group: Critical Information Infrastructures

Archive Number: 4.541
Status of Thesis: Completed
Date of start: 2019-12-19
Date of submission: 2020-04-21

Further Information

Abstract: Privacy-enhancing technologies (PETs) can help protect privacy for individuals and society from significant threats and harms. However, the link between perceived privacy threats and PET use remains mostly unanswered throughout literature. In addition, cultural values may influence usage of information systems, there is a lack of existing research regarding cultural influence on privacy considering privacy concern and PETs use.

This study undertakes a first step towards understanding the use of PETs employing mixed-method approach. I use a user-centered perspective in order to explain how German and Chi-nese individuals use PETs to respond to privacy issues. Therefore, the grounded theory method is selected, and the contextual integrity framework is used as a conceptualization of information privacy. Relevant factors for PET selection and use are identified and integrated into a single uniform framework. In summary, this study contributes to a process model of information pri-vacy, selection and use of PETs in their socio-technical and cultural context. In practice, the identified decision criteria relate to users’ adoption of PET might be used for the development of more user-centered technology, thereby driving the general adoption of PETs. Furthermore, this study adopts Hofstede’s cultural framework to link culture with privacy concern and users’ ac-ceptance of Privacy-enhancing technologies.