CCE Theses and Dissertations

Campus Access Only

All rights reserved. This publication is intended for use solely by faculty, students, and staff of Nova Southeastern University. No part of this publication may be reproduced, distributed, or transmitted in any form or by any means, now known or later developed, including but not limited to photocopying, recording, or other electronic or mechanical methods, without the prior written permission of the author or the publisher.

Date of Award


Document Type

Dissertation - NSU Access Only

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy in Computer Information Systems (DCIS)


Graduate School of Computer and Information Sciences


Maxine S Cohen

Committee Member

Laurie Dringus

Committee Member

William Hafner


Privacy on the Internet has become one of the leading concerns for Internet users. These users are not wrong in their concerns if personally identifiable information is not protected and under their control. To minimize the collection of Internet users' personal information and help solve the problem of online privacy, a number of privacy-enhancing technologies have been developed. These so-called privacy-enhancing technologies still have usability issues in the user interfaces because Internet users do not have the choices required to monitor and control their personal data when released in online repositories. Current research shows a need exists to improve the overall usability of privacy-enhancing technology user interfaces. A properly designed privacy-enhancing technology user interface will give the Internet users confidence they can monitor and control all aspects of their personal data. Specific methods and criteria for assessing the usability of privacy-enhancing technology user interfaces either have not been developed or have not been widely published leading to the complexity of the user interfaces, which negatively affects the privacy and security of Internet users' personal data.

This study focused on the development of a conceptual framework, which will provide a sound foundation for use in assessing the user interfaces of Web-based privacy-enhancing technologies for user-controlled e-privacy features. The study investigated the extent to which user testing and heuristic evaluation help identify the lack of user-controlled e-privacy features and usability problems in selected privacy-enhancing technology user interfaces. The outcome of this research was the development of a domain-specific heuristics checklist with criteria for the future evaluation of privacy-enhancing technologies' applications user interfaces. The results of the study show the domain-specific heuristics checklist generated more usability problems and a higher number of severe problems than the general heuristics. This suggests domain-specific heuristics can be used as a discount usability technique, which enforces the concept of usability that the heuristics are easy to use and learn. The domain-specific heuristics checklist should be of interest to privacy and security practitioners involved in the development of privacy-enhancing technologies' user interfaces. This research should supplement the literature on human-computer interaction, personal data protection, and privacy management.

To access this thesis/dissertation you must have a valid OR email address and create an account for NSUWorks.

Free My Thesis

If you are the author of this work and would like to grant permission to make it openly accessible to all, please click the Free My Thesis button.

  Contact Author