Trying to define the privacy experience

Nowadays I feel like privacy is more like an add-on than actually an integral part of many services. Most of the time it is up to the user to find where and how to control information sharing and quite often it takes some effort to do that. Just this week I learned that I can actually see (and control to some extent) information that Google collects about me through my Google account. Feels kind of nice.

A lot of services are notifying the users that information is being collected but they don’t leave that much for the users to control, other than all-in or all-out. Where is the middle ground?

That bring me to the topic of control and transparency. According to an article by Betsy Masiello these two attributes are the foundations of privacy experience. Transparency can be defined as information (identity, purpose, practice of the collector) available to the person being surveilled [1]. When transparency is low uncertainty rises and users presume negative intentions. Also having no control over your own data creates uncertainty. On the other hand it has been noted that having a lot of control leads to people revealing more information about them selves which can lead to new privacy issues [2].

In my opinion a good privacy experience requires more attributes. Also freedom of choice, trust and other people’s examples have a significant effect on the experience and should be taken into consideration when talking about good privacy experience.

Send me links / suggestions about what privacy experience actually is. I still have not found a good-enough definition for it.


[1] Oulasvirta, A. et al., 2014. Transparency of Intentions Decreases Privacy Concerns in Ubiquitous Surveillance. Cyberpsychology, Behavior, and Social Networking, 17(10), pp.633–638. Available at:

[2] Brandimarte, L., Acquisti, a. & Loewenstein, G., 2012. Misplaced Confidences: Privacy and the Control Paradox. Social Psychological and Personality Science, 4(3), pp.340–347.