Data Protection on the Move

Volume 24 of the series Law, Governance and Technology Series pp 277-305

Do-It-Yourself Data Protection—Empowerment or Burden?

  • Tobias MatznerAffiliated withUniversität Tübingen, Internationales Zentrum für Ethik in den Wissenschaften Email author 
  • , Philipp K. MasurAffiliated withUniversität Hohenheim Lehrstuhl Für Medienpsychologie (540 F)
  • , Carsten OchsAffiliated withUniversität Kassel Fachbereich 05 Soziologische Theorie
  • , Thilo von PapeAffiliated withUniversität Hohenheim Lehrstuhl Für Medienpsychologie (540 F)

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Data protection by individual citizens, here labeled do-it-yourself (DIY) data protection, is often considered as an important part of comprehensive data protection. Particularly in the wake of diagnosing the so called “privacy paradox”, fostering DIY privacy protection and providing the respective tools is seen both as important policy aim and as a developing market. Individuals are meant to be empowered in a world where an increasing amount of actors is interested in their data. We analyze the preconditions of this view empirically and normatively: Thus, we ask (1) Can individuals protect data efficiently; and (2) Should individuals be responsible for data protection. We argue that both for pragmatic and normative reasons, a wider social perspective on data protection is required. The paper is concluded by providing a short outlook how these results could be taken up in data protection practices.


Do-it-yourself data protection Data protection Responsibilization Data protection advocates Data protection practices Representative study Privacy paradigm