Why Do People Pay for Privacy?

Harborth, D.; Cai, X. and Pape, S.

In ICT Systems Security and Privacy Protection - 34th IFIP TC 11 International Conference, SEC 2019, Lisbon, Portugal, June 25-27, 2019, Proceedings, pages 253-267, 2019, Acceptance rate: 26 / 142 = 18.3%.


Today's environment of data-driven business models relies heavily on collecting as much personal data as possible. One way to prevent this extensive collection, is to use privacy-enhancing technologies (PETs). However, until now, PETs did not succeed in larger consumer markets. In addition, there is a lot of research determining the technical properties of PETs, i.e. for Tor, but the use behavior of the users and, especially, their attitude towards spending money for such services is rarely considered. Yet, determining factors which lead to an increased willingness to pay (WTP) for privacy is an important step to establish economically sustainable PETs. We argue that the lack of WTP for privacy is one of the most important reasons for the non-existence of large players engaging in the offering of a PET. The relative success of services like Tor corroborates this claim since this is a service without any monetary costs attached. Thus, we empirically investigate the drivers of active users' WTP of a commercial PET - JonDonym - and compare them with the respective results for a donation-based service - Tor. Furthermore, we provide recommendations for the design of tariff schemes for commercial PETs.

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