Privacy Cynicism: A New Approach to the Privacy Paradox

Cyberpsychology: Journal of Psychosocial Research on Cyberspace, 10(4), article 7, 2016 DOI/10.5817/CP2016-4-7

18 Pages Posted: 8 Feb 2019

See all articles by Christian Pieter Hoffmann

Christian Pieter Hoffmann

University of Leipzig

Christoph Lutz

BI Norwegian Business School

Giulia Ranzini

VU University Amsterdam

Date Written: December 6, 2016

Abstract

Privacy concerns among Internet users are consistently found to be high. At the same time, these concerns do not appear to generate a corresponding wave of privacy protection behavior. A number of studies have addressed the apparent divergence between users’ privacy concerns and behavior, with results varying according to context. Previous research has examined user trust, lack of risk awareness and the privacy calculus as potential solutions to the “privacy paradox”. Complementing these perspectives, we propose that some users faced with seemingly overwhelming privacy threats develop an attitude of “privacy cynicism”, leading to a resigned neglect of protection behavior. Privacy cynicism serves as a cognitive coping mechanism, allowing users to rationalize taking advantage of online services despite serious privacy concerns. We conduct an interdisciplinary literature review to define the core concept, then empirically substantiate it based on qualitative data collected among German Internet users.

Keywords: privacy, institutional privacy concerns, privacy cynicism, scale development, focus groups

Suggested Citation

Hoffmann, Christian Pieter and Lutz, Christoph and Ranzini, Giulia, Privacy Cynicism: A New Approach to the Privacy Paradox (December 6, 2016). Cyberpsychology: Journal of Psychosocial Research on Cyberspace, 10(4), article 7, 2016 DOI/10.5817/CP2016-4-7. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3319830 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.3319830

Christian Pieter Hoffmann

University of Leipzig ( email )

Marschnerstrasse 31
D-04109 Leipzig, 04109
Germany

Christoph Lutz (Contact Author)

BI Norwegian Business School ( email )

Nydalsveien 37
Oslo, 0442
Norway

Giulia Ranzini

VU University Amsterdam ( email )

De Boelelaan 1105
Amsterdam, ND North Holland 1081 HV
Netherlands

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