A value sensitive design investigation of privacy enhancing tools in web browsers

Heng Xu, Robert E. Crossler, France Bélanger

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

44 Scopus citations


Privacy concern has been identified as a major factor hindering the growth of e-business. Recently, various privacy-enhancing tools (PETs) have been proposed to protect the online privacy of Internet users. However, most of these PETs have been designed using an ad hoc approach rather than a systematic design. In this paper, we present an exploratory investigation of an end-use PET using a Value Sensitive Design approach. We propose an integrated design of a Privacy Enhancing Support System (PESS) with three proposed tools, namely privacy-enhancing search feature (PESearch), privacy-enhancing control for personal data (PEControl), and privacy-enhancing review for sharing the ratings and reviews of websites' privacy practices (PEReview). This system could enhance the interactivity of Internet users' privacy experiences, increase users' control perceptions over their personal information, and reduce their privacy concerns. An empirical evaluation of PESearch, PEControl, and PEReview revealed that novices felt the most important aspect of the tools for downloading and usage intentions was its usefulness; most experts felt the tool met the design principles as specified.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)424-433
Number of pages10
JournalDecision Support Systems
Issue number1
StatePublished - Dec 2012

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Management Information Systems
  • Information Systems
  • Developmental and Educational Psychology
  • Arts and Humanities (miscellaneous)
  • Information Systems and Management


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