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Laziness as an explanation for the privacy paradox: a longitudinal empirical investigation

Jakob Wirth (University of Bamberg, Bamberg, Germany)
Christian Maier (University of Bamberg, Bamberg, Germany)
Sven Laumer (Friedrich-Alexander-Universität Erlangen-Nürnberg, Erlangen, Germany)
Tim Weitzel (University of Bamberg, Bamberg, Germany)

Internet Research

ISSN: 1066-2243

Article publication date: 25 May 2021

Issue publication date: 18 January 2022




“Smart devices think you're “too lazy” to opt out of privacy defaults” was the headline of a recent news report indicating that individuals might be too lazy to stop disclosing their private information and therefore to protect their information privacy. In current privacy research, privacy concerns and self-disclosure are central constructs regarding protecting privacy. One might assume that being concerned about protecting privacy would lead individuals to disclose less personal information. However, past research has shown that individuals continue to disclose personal information despite high privacy concerns, which is commonly referred to as the privacy paradox. This study introduces laziness as a personality trait in the privacy context, asking to what degree individual laziness influences privacy issues.


After conceptualizing, defining and operationalizing laziness, the authors analyzed information collected in a longitudinal empirical study and evaluated the results through structural equation modeling.


The findings show that the privacy paradox holds true, yet the level of laziness influences it. In particular, the privacy paradox applies to very lazy individuals but not to less lazy individuals.

Research limitations/implications

With these results one can better explain the privacy paradox and self-disclosure behavior.

Practical implications

The state might want to introduce laws that not only bring organizations to handle information in a private manner but also make it as easy as possible for individuals to protect their privacy.


Based on a literature review, a clear research gap has been identified, filled by this research study.



This study is based on the authors' workshop paper “Influence of Laziness on Data Disclosure: An Empirical Investigation” presented at 16th workshop of the Diffusion Interest Group in Information Technology authored by Wirth, J., Maier, C. and Laumer, S. (2015).


Wirth, J., Maier, C., Laumer, S. and Weitzel, T. (2022), "Laziness as an explanation for the privacy paradox: a longitudinal empirical investigation", Internet Research, Vol. 32 No. 1, pp. 24-54.



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