Author ORCID Identifier

Year of Publication


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

Document Type

Doctoral Dissertation


Communication and Information



First Advisor

Dr. Anthony Limperos


The problem of privacy is nuanced, pervasive, and requires an elevated approach. Given the lack of consistency with regard to privacy’s conceptualization and operationalization, research is needed that examines variables related to privacy to better understand how privacy operates in the present day. This dissertation aims to better understand nuances of privacy by gauging knowledge of online privacy, technological affordances related to privacy, and knowledge of surveillance. In this study, human subjects from a large southern University were presented with an opportunity to use a privacy-invasive smartphone application. After doing so, they viewed one of three privacy policies. Finally, they answered survey items measuring privacy awareness and surveillance awareness.

It was found that there were no significant main effects between modality of privacy policy shown and awareness of privacy nor awareness of surveillance. However, significant individual differences were found between two types of privacy policies. It was also found that a significant and positive relationship existed between awareness of privacy, and awareness of surveillance. It was also found that a relationship existed between awareness of privacy and awareness of the communication affordances of visibility and encryption. The present study concludes with implications that benefit communication theory, social media research, and legal bodies who seek to address issues with present day privacy policies.

Digital Object Identifier (DOI)