This thesis looks at the ‘trade-off’ that users of cloud computing services must make: convenience of use in exchange for outsourcing the protection of private data. In particular, it looks at the relationship of trust that must exist in this exchange. Using concepts from actor-network theory, I explore how this trust in a technological entity is formed, maintained and broken. Using Dropbox as a case study, I analyze the relationship between a cloud computing service and its users by performing a textual analysis of privacy policies and other official communications, as well as threads on
user help forums. I find that the cloud computing provider (Dropbox) works to establish its reliability and trustworthiness and it is only in instances of breakdown – when this reliability is questioned – that the privacy ‘trade-off’ and issues of protecting personal data become contested.