Why doesn't Jane protect her privacy?

Karen Renaud, Melanie Volkamer, Arne Renkema-Padmos, Emiliano De Cristofaro (Editor), Steven J. Murdoch (Editor)

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter (peer-reviewed)peer-review

54 Citations (Scopus)
7 Downloads (Pure)


End-to-end encryption has been heralded by privacy and security researchers as an effective defence against dragnet surveillance, but there is no evidence of widespread end-user uptake. We argue that the non-adoption of end-to-end encryption might not be entirely due to usability issues identified by Whitten and Tygar in their seminal paper "Why Johnny Can't Encrypt". Our investigation revealed a number of fundamental issues such as incomplete threat models, misaligned incentives, and a general absence of understanding of the email architecture. From our data and related research literature we found evidence of a number of potential explanations for the low uptake of end-to-end encryption. This suggests that merely increasing the availability and usability of encryption functionality in email clients will not automatically encourage increased deployment by email users. We shall have to focus, first, on building comprehensive end-user mental models related to email, and email security. We conclude by suggesting directions for future research.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationInternational Symposium on Privacy Enhancing Technologies Symposium
Subtitle of host publicationPETS 2014: Privacy Enhancing Technologies
Place of PublicationCham
Number of pages19
ISBN (Print)9783319085050
Publication statusPublished - 20 Jun 2014
Event14th International Symposium on Privacy Enhancing Technologies - PETS 2014 - Amsterdam, Netherlands
Duration: 16 Jul 201418 Jul 2014

Publication series

NameLecture Notes in Computer Science


Conference14th International Symposium on Privacy Enhancing Technologies - PETS 2014
Abbreviated titlePETS 2104


  • end-to-end encryption
  • privacy
  • security
  • end-user mental models


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