Privacy Personalisation Paradox

Exploring the private information we give up for a personalised internet


Led by Dr Paul Harrigan, UWA’s Business School is conducting experimental research into the level of awareness around the data we surrender when we sign up for loyalty or rewards schemes, or free WiFi services in cafes or other public places.

Do we care? Do we even know?

This research is underpinned in self-disclosure theory, which considers the trade-off between privacy concerns and inherent benefits.

This project explores why and how people make the decision to disclose or withhold their information, including:

  • perceived privacy concern
  • previous privacy invasion
  • perceived privacy control
  • trust in the organisation
  • social benefits
  • economic benefits
  • entertainment benefits

This project involves collaborations with other academics from around the world, including Dr Tim Daly from Zayed University in the United Arab Emirates, and Dr Kristof Coussement from the IESEG School of Management in France.

The team is currently seeking funding and industry partners to work through industry experiments.

We’re looking for researchers with expertise in consumer behaviour experiments and big data analytics.

Our team is also looking for people to be interviewed or to complete an experiment and survey around free Wi-Fi sign up.

If you’d like to get involved in any of these opportunities, contact Dr Harrigan on the details below.


Find out what data is possible to acquire through the provision of free Wi-Fi and loyalty card schemes

Understand the drivers behind self-disclosure of personal consumer data

Learn consumers’ attitudes to self-disclosure of personal data

PhD opportunities


We welcome researchers to join our team, including people interesting in using this area to drive a PhD. Activities will include setting up and managing experimental landing and sign-in pages, engaging with industry partners and publishing the research.

If you are interested, read the following before applying:

Ardiansyah, Y., Harrigan, P., Soutar, G. and Daly, T. (2018), ‘Consumers’ perceived benefits in peer-communication through social advertising’, Journal of Interactive Advertising.

To discuss your PhD options in relation to this project, contact Dr Harrigan using the details below.

Graphic of a chart on a folder


Contact Dr Paul Harrigan