Publications & Readings


The ways in which privacy is defined, perceived, and enacted are contingent on cultural, social, political, economic, and technological structures. Privacy research, however, is often conducted in settings that do not account for variations in how privacy is perceived and enacted. A comparative perspective explicitly addresses this shortcoming by requiring the contextualization of privacy through investigating structural similarities and differences. This paper outlines a comparative privacy research framework, which proposes five interrelated structures (cultural, social, political, economic, and technological) as fruitful units of comparison and disentangles how these structures affect and interact with privacy processes at the micro-, meso-, and macro levels. We conclude by proposing a comparative privacy research agenda, which acknowledges the embeddedness of privacy in such structural settings, and informs efforts to address privacy as a valued outcome through policy formation, education, and research.

  • John, N., Joeckel, S., Epstein, D. & Dogruel, L. (2022). Privacy and distance learning in turbulent times: a comparison of German and Israeli schools during the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic. Learning, Media and Technology,

The social distancing and lockdown measures enacted to address the COVID-19 pandemic entailed an unprecedented shift to digitally-mediated communication. The move to remote learning at schools was one of such important changes. Drawing on privacy and STS literature, we investigate the role of different privacy cultures during the initial moment of turbulence, when schools had to quickly adapt to remote teaching. To this end, we conducted semi-structured interviews with teachers in Israel and Germany. Our interviews carved out three distinct phases: A moment of turbulence, a period of negotiation and a phase of temporary closure, leading to the dominance of Zoom and Google Classroom in Israel, and government-mandated open-source tools for German teachers. These different pathways are shaped by considerations of vertical privacy among German teachers, and the absence of such considerations on the part of Israeli teachers.

Related work of members

  • Baruh, L., & Popescu, M. (2017). Big Data Analytics and the Limits of Privacy Self-management. New Media & Society19(4), 579–596.
  • Baruh, L., Secinti, E. & Cemalcılar, Z. (2017). Online Privacy Concern and Privacy Management: A Meta-Analytic Review. Journal of Communication, 67(1), 26-53.
  • Bosler, S. & Wilhelm, C. (2017). La politique des études d’usage: Une méta-analyse internationale des études sur les médias numériques. Les Enjeux de l’Information et de La Communication 18(3a), 73-86. [Link]
  • Epstein, D., John, N., Wilhelm, C., Barats, C., Siiback, A. (2021, October). Privacy, Covid-19 and Online Teaching: A Comparative Study in Estonia, France and Israel. Paper presented at AoIR 2021: The 22nd Annual Conference of the Association of Internet Researchers. Philadelphia, PA, USA: AoIR. Retrieved from
  • Epstein, D. & Quinn, K. (2020). Markers of online privacy marginalization: Empirical examination of socioeconomic disparities in social media privacy attitudes, literacy, and behavior. Social Media + Society, 6(2). [Link (Open Access)]
  • Kezer, M., Sevi, B., Cemalcilar, Z., & Baruh, L. (2016). Age differences in privacy attitudes, literacy and privacy management on Facebook. Cyberpsychology: Journal of Psychosocial Research on Cyberspace, 10(1), Article 2.
  • Masur, P. K. (2018). Situational privacy and self-disclosure: Communication processes in online environments. Cham, Switzerland: Springer. [LinkSummary]
  • Masur, P. K. (2021). Understanding the Effects of Conceptual and Analytical Choices on ‘Finding’ the Privacy Paradox: A Specification Curve Analysis of Large-Scale Survey Data. Information, Communication & Society. [Link (Open Access)]
  • Newlands, G., Lutz, C., Tamò-Larrieux, A., Villaronga, E. F., Harasgama, R., & Scheitlin, G. (2020). Innovation under pressure: Implications for data privacy during the Covid-19 pandemic. Big Data & Society.
  • Quinn, K., Epstein, D., & Moon, B. (2019). We care about different things: Non-elite conceptualizations of social media privacy. Social Media + Society, 5(3). [Link (Open Access)]
  • Ranzini, G., Newlands, G., & Lutz, C. (2020). Sharenting, Peer Influence, and Privacy Concerns: A Study on the Instagram-Sharing Behaviors of Parents in the United Kingdom. Social Media + Society.
  • Trepte, S. & Masur, P. K. (2017). Privacy attitudes, perceptions, and behaviors of the German population: Research report. In Friedewald et al. (Eds.), Forum Privatheit und selbstbestimmtes Leben in der digitalen Welt. Karlsruhe: Fraunhofer ISI. [Link (Open Access), Data]
  • Trepte, S. & Masur, P. K. (2016). Cultural differences in social media use, privacy, and self-disclosure. Research report on a multicultural survey study. Germany: University of Hohenheim. [PDF (Open Access)]
  • Wilhelm, C. (2021). Approche socio-culturelle et comparative des représentations du numérique. Vie privée et « hygiène de vie numérique » en Allemagne [A socio-cultural and comparative approach to representations of digital technology. Privacy and “digital hygiene” in Germany]. Interfaces numériques, 10(2).