The Nature of Risk and the Privacy Calculus

Research questions


Statement of problem

Public safety is improved if individual users are able to make informed choices about disclosure of personal information.  Privacy calculus is a method for balancing perceived risks and benefits of online transactions (Krasnova et al. 2012; Dinev & Hart 2006).  This depends on a categorising risk, but there is no consensus on a risk typology (Rosenblum 2007; Swedlow et al. 2009, p.237; Facebook Inc. 2017; Haynes & Robinson 2015).  This research will investigate the nature of risk using empirical data from an analysis of actual user behaviour and sets out to address the following research questions:

  • Is there a reliable typology for personal risk that can be used to analyse the privacy calculus that users engage in?
  • What is the nature of the interactions and risks that users engage in when they use the Internet?
  • Can the new risk typology be applied to existing empirical data to refine the privacy calculus?
  • What effect will the new categorisation of risk have?
  • Can these figures be used to improve the predictions of user behaviour?


Dinev, T. & Hart, P., 2006. An Extended Privacy Calculus Model for E-Commerce Transactions. Information Systems Research, 17(1), pp.61–80.

Facebook Inc., 2017. Facebook Privacy Basics. Available at: [Accessed April 7, 2017].

Haynes, D. & Robinson, L., 2015. Defining User Risk in Social Networking Services. Aslib Journal of Information Management, 67(1), pp.94–115.

Krasnova, H., Veltri, N.F. & Günther, O., 2012. Self-disclosure and Privacy Calculus on Social Networking Sites: The Role of Culture. Business & Information Systems Engineering, 4(3), pp.127–135.

Rosenblum, D., 2007. What Anyone Can Know: the privacy risks of social networking sites. IEEE Security & Privacy, 5(3), pp.40–49.

Swedlow, B. et al., 2009. Theorizing and Generalizing about Risk Assessment and Regulation through Comparative Nested Analysis of Representative Cases. Law & Policy, 31(2), pp.236–269.

About David Haynes

David is a Research Fellow investigating 'The Nature of Risk in the Privacy Calculus'. He lectures in Information Management and Policy at #citylis and is author of 'Metadata for information management and retrieval'. View all posts by David Haynes →

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