Investigating factors that affect the adoption of COVID-19 contact-tracing apps : A privacy calculus perspective

On June 16, 2020, the German government issued a coronavirus disease 19 (COVID-19) contact-tracing app whose privacy settings were fiercely debated in advance. Contrary, potential benefits regarding the acceleration of contact tracing were advertised. This study investigated the relative importance of privacy concerns and perceived benefits in relation to the decision to use the app adopting a privacy calculus perspective extended by trust in app privacy and technological knowledge about the app. Results of a representative German sample (N = 952) revealed that privacy concerns were negatively related to app usage, and perceived benefits and knowledge were positively related to actual app adoption. Additionally, perceiving app benefits was the most important factor for (continued) usage intention, while privacy concerns did not play a role anymore. Trust was strongly negatively associated with privacy concerns and strongly positively with perceived benefits. Results are discussed concerning consequences for communication strategies when launching technology whose adoption should help in mitigating dangers of pandemics.


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