Do People Know About Privacy and Data Protection Strategies? Towards the “Online Privacy Literacy Scale” (OPLIS)

Sabine Trepte*, Doris Teutsch, P. K. Masur, C. Eicher, Mona Fischer, Alisa Hennhöfer, Fabienne Lind

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Chapter in Book / Report / Conference proceedingChapterAcademicpeer-review


Empirical research has revealed disparities of internet users’ online privacy attitudes and online privacy behaviors. Although users express concerns about disclosing personal data in the internet, they share personal and sometimes intimate details of their and others lives in various online environments. This may possibly be explained by the knowledge gap hypothesis which states that people are concerned about their privacy and would like to behave accordingly, but that lacking privacy literacy prevents them from reacting the ways that they think would most adequately reflect their attitudes and needs. To implement privacy literacy in future research and policy making, a comprehensive scale to measure privacy literacy will be suggested. The online privacy literacy scale (OPLIS) was developed based on an exhaustive review of prior literature on privacy literacy and a profound content analysis of different sources capturing a variety of aspects relevant to online privacy. The scale encompasses five dimensions of online privacy literacy: (1) Knowledge about practices of organizations, institutions and online service providers; (2) Knowledge about technical aspects of online privacy and data protection; (3) Knowledge about laws and legal aspects of online data protection in Germany; (4) Knowledge about European directives on privacy and data protection; and (5) Knowledge about user strategies for individual privacy regulation.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationReforming European Data Protection Law
EditorsSerge Gutwirth, Ronald Leenes, Paul de Hert
Place of PublicationDordrecht
PublisherSpringer Netherlands
Number of pages33
ISBN (Print)978-94-017-9385-8
Publication statusPublished - 2015

Publication series

NameLaw, Governance and Technology Series
PublisherSpringer Netherlands


  • privacy
  • online privacy literacy


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