Does time spent on device security and privacy inhibit online expression?

Juhani Rauhala, Pasi Tyrväinen, Nezer Zaidenberg

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contributionpeer-review


Freedom of expression is a recognized human right. More recently, the UN has resolved that unrestricted access to the Internet is also a human right. A commonly accepted benefit of the Internet is that it serves as a platform for free expression. Usage of the Internet for free expression can be a way of circumventing censorship or other hindrances that prevent citizens' freedom of expression in more traditional publishing media. However, the Internet has unique security and privacy risks that may affect users' attitudes toward expressing themselves online. In the online environment, users with controversial viewpoints may be reluctant to express the viewpoints due to concern about possible consequences resulting from the expressions. Consequences may be imposed by individuals, groups, organizations, businesses, or nation-states. In order to mitigate the security and privacy risks of the Internet, some Internet users spend valuable time thinking about and configuring the security settings of their devices. Some users may have a negative attitude toward such time expenditure. Users may be reluctant to express themselves online simply because it costs too much time and effort for proper configuration for anonymity. That is, the users may be aware of the importance and abundance of tools providing anonymity and may wish to express themselves online but decide spending time on anonymity is just too much effort. The association of time spent on personal cybersecurity with the reluctance to express online does not appear to have been studied in prior research. The purpose of this paper is to explore the effects of these issues on users' reluctance to express themselves online. We constructed a model to represent our hypotheses and collected data using a survey. We then validated the model by performing factor and correlation analyses on the collected data. The results of this research show that the attitude of users toward time expenditure on device security aspects correlates with users' reluctance to express themselves online.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationProceedings of the 18th European Conference on Cyber Warfare and Security, ECCWS 2019
EditorsTiago Cruz, Paulo Simoes
PublisherCurran Associates Inc.
Number of pages9
ISBN (Electronic)9781912764280
StatePublished - 2019
Externally publishedYes
Event18th European Conference on Cyber Warfare and Security, ECCWS 2019 - Coimbra, Portugal
Duration: 4 Jul 20195 Jul 2019

Publication series

NameEuropean Conference on Information Warfare and Security, ECCWS
ISSN (Print)2048-8602
ISSN (Electronic)2048-8610


Conference18th European Conference on Cyber Warfare and Security, ECCWS 2019


  • Device security
  • Device settings
  • Frustration
  • Online expression
  • Time consumption


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