Why doesn't Jane protect her privacy?

Karen Renaud, Melanie Volkamer, Arne Renkema-Padmos

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

51 Citations (Scopus)


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 publicationPrivacy enhancing technologies
Subtitle of host publication14th International Symposium, PETS 2014, Amsterdam, The Netherlands, July 16-18, 2014, proceedings
EditorsEmiliano De Cristofaro, Steven J. Murdoch
Place of PublicationCham
Number of pages19
ISBN (Electronic)9783319085067
ISBN (Print)9783319085050
Publication statusPublished - 20 Jun 2014
Externally publishedYes
Event14th International Symposium on Privacy Enhancing Technologies - Amsterdam, Netherlands
Duration: 16 Jul 201418 Jul 2014
Conference number: 14th

Publication series

NameLecture Notes in Computer Science (LNCS)
ISSN (Print)0302-9743
ISSN (Electronic)1611-3349


Conference14th International Symposium on Privacy Enhancing Technologies
Abbreviated titlePETS 2014
Internet address


  • Email
  • Ento-to-end encryption
  • Privacy
  • Security
  • Mental model


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