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Wednesday, July 29 • 10:46 - 12:15
"Privacy online: Knowledge, concerns, and behavior of users, sites managers and policy-makers"

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Authors: Avshalom Ginosar and Yaron Ariel

Privacy, according to one traditional definition, is "the claim of individuals, groups, or institutions to determine for themselves, how and to what extent information about them is communicated to others" (Westin, 1967: 7). While violating one's privacy in the offline world has been a source of different types of concerns, the new technologies of the online world enable many new ways for such violations to occur and therefore amplify public concerns. Consequently, both the Internet industries as well as different legal, social and political institutions are being asked to pay more attention to the issue and look for ways to meeting these concerns. 

Two main clusters of relevant studies can be identified in current literature: the first addresses the concerns of Internet users over their privacy being compromised (e.g. Awad & Krishnan, 2006; Paine, Reips, Stieger, Joinson, & Buchanan, 2007). The second deals with issues of policy and regulation regarding violation of privacy on the net (e.g. Birhack & Elkin-Koren, 2011; Fernback & Papacharissi, 2007; Rasmus & Stine, 2013; Tsai, Egelman, Cranor, & Acquisiti, 2011). The research we are undertaking seeks to combine issues from these two clusters of studies. 

We try to understand the connections between four constructs: knowledge about the possibilities to violate privacy on the Internet, awareness of possible risks emerging from violating one's privacy, concerns raised in response to these risks, and behavior that result of these concerns. We investigate views and positions of three relevant groups: Internet users, site' planners and operators, and policy-makers and regulators. 

The study is based on three different surveys, each aimed at one of the three groups. We approached 505 Internet users (a representative sample of the Jewish population in Israel) and of about 100 Israeli sites operators (governmental, public, commercial sites). We intend to address several dozens of policy-makers, regulators, and experts who advised to different formal institutions and committees. 

Each survey consists of dozens of statements related to each of the constructs: knowledge, awareness, concerns, and behavior. The respondents were asked to mark their consent to each statement in a 5-degree likert scale (1- not at all; 5- very much). 

The analysis of the users' responses reveals a strong positive connection between user's knowledge and concern and a weaker positive connection between knowledge and behavior. Two explanatory factors found as relevant: first, users do not trust formal institutions that are supposed to protect their privacy; second, users fear of malicious action of those who collect and keep their personal details. As to demography, we found a significant positive correlation between age and concern (elder respondents were more concern) and significant positive connection between education and concern (more educated respondents were more concern). No significant relations were found between concern and the frequency of internet surfing; frequency online social networks use; or the extent of using the net for specific actions such as contents sharing. 

Future Work: 
(1) Analyzing sites managers' responses (we got about 100 responses). 
(2) Collecting data from policy-makers and regulators (and analyzing their responses). 

Awad, N. F., & Krishnan, M. (2006). The personalization privacy paradox: An empirical evaluation of information transparency and the willingness to be profiled online for personalization. MIS Quarterly, 30(1), 13-28. 
Birnhack, M., & Elkin-Koren, N. (2011). Does law matter online? Empirical evidence on privacy law compliance. Michigan Telecommunications & Technology Law Review, 17, 337-384. 
Fernback, J., & Papacharissi, Z. (2007). Online privacy as legal safeguard: The relationship among consumer, online portal, and privacy policies. New Media & Society, 9(5), 715-734. 
Paine, C., Reips, U., Stieger, S., Joinson, A., & Buchanan, T. (2007). Internet users’ perceptions of ‘privacy concerns’ and ‘privacy actions’. International Journal of Human-Computer Studies, 65(6), 526-536. 
Rasmus, H., & Stine, L. (2013). Regulatory response? tracking the influence of technological developments on privacy regulation in Denmark from 2000 to 2011. Policy & Internet, 3, 289-303. 
Tsai, J. Y., Egelman, S., Cranor, L., & Acquisti, A. (2011). The effect of online privacy information on purchasing behavior: An experimental study. Information Systems Research, 22(2), 254-268. 
Westin, A. F. (1967). Privacy and freedom. Atheneum: New York 

avatar for Avshalom Ginosar

Avshalom Ginosar

Senior Lecturer, The Academic College of Yezreel Valley

Wednesday July 29, 2015 10:46 - 12:15
(8th Floor) TRS 2-166 (Ted Rogers School of Management) 55 Dundas Street West, Toronto, ON M5G 2C3

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