“Seeking Privacy Makes Me Feel Bad?”: An Exploratory Study Examining Emotional Impact on Use of Privacy-Enhancing Features

Hsiao Ying Huang, Masooda Bashir

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contribution


With the increasing prevalence of privacy invasions and data breaches, more and more users have been seeking protection for their online privacy, which makes privacy-enhancing features and technologies more important than ever. However, these features and technologies are still not widely adopted by users. In the privacy literature, there seems to be an assumption that online users’ privacy behaviors are based on rational decision-making. However, previous research has shown that users’ decision-making involves not only rational thoughts but also emotions, which play an important role. To explore that unknown territory, this empirical study focuses on human emotions and examines their impact on users’ adoption of privacy-enhancing features. Our study design is based on two theoretical frameworks: feelings-as-information theory and the Technology Acceptance Model. We used private browsing as a case study and conducted an online survey experiment to investigate what types of emotions are elicited in users by private browsing mode and how these emotions affect their acceptance of private browsing. Interestingly, we found that the interface design of private browsing mode provokes both positive and negative emotions in users. Also, these elicited emotions influence users’ behavioral intentions. Based on these results, we propose design recommendations for privacy-enhancing features.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationAdvances in Information and Communication - Proceedings of the 2020 Future of Information and Communication Conference FICC
EditorsKohei Arai, Supriya Kapoor, Rahul Bhatia
Number of pages18
ISBN (Print)9783030394448
StatePublished - 2020
EventFuture of Information and Communication Conference, FICC 2020 - San Francisco, United States
Duration: Mar 5 2020Mar 6 2020

Publication series

NameAdvances in Intelligent Systems and Computing
Volume1129 AISC
ISSN (Print)2194-5357
ISSN (Electronic)2194-5365


ConferenceFuture of Information and Communication Conference, FICC 2020
Country/TerritoryUnited States
CitySan Francisco


  • Human-information interaction
  • Interface design
  • Privacy-preserving technology
  • Usable privacy

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Control and Systems Engineering
  • Computer Science(all)


Dive into the research topics of '“Seeking Privacy Makes Me Feel Bad?”: An Exploratory Study Examining Emotional Impact on Use of Privacy-Enhancing Features'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this