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Privacy Paradox

Overview#

Privacy Paradox is a phenomenon that while online users state their concerns about privacy, their behaviors are not consistent with their concerns.[1]

"'Opting In': A Privacy Paradox," John Schwartz wrote that "It's one of the more puzzling conundrums of online life. While companies that capitalize on the Internet's powerful potential to invade privacy are denounced as villains of the information age, millions of people type out highly personal data and send it off to Web sites they've barely heard of, with no strong legal protection against misuse of the information. …The paradox helps illustrate the complexity of the debate over privacy."

As outlined in “What Can I Really Do?”:

  • Privacy Pragmatists - evaluated risks and benefits of information provision (57%)
  • Privacy Fundamentalists - highly concerned about privacy and willing to engage in privacy-protective behavior (25%)
  • Privacy Unconcerned - happy to provide information to receive minor benefits, like discounts (18%)
However, when tested these categories in experimental settings, they found that even “Privacy Fundamentalists” were willing to reveal “private and highly personal information” to an e-commerce chat bot that asked “non-legitimate and unimportant personal questions” during a shopping session.

Privacy Paradox has two main thrusts:

Talk about privacy does not follow people's actions#

Although:
  • 92% of American internet users are worried about their online privacy and
  • 64% feel it should be a human right,
  • only 31% understand how companies share their information.
There is a yawning gap between the expressed concern and the actions users take.[2]

Privacy Paradox suggests that young people claim to care about privacy while simultaneously providing a great deal of personal information through social media. Our interviews revealed that young adults do understand and care about the potential risks associated with disclosing information online and engage in at least some privacy-protective behaviors on social media. However, they feel that once information is shared, it is ultimately out of their control. They attribute this to the opaque practices of institutions, the technological affordances of social media, and the concept of networked privacy, which acknowledges that individuals exist in social contexts where others can and do violate their privacy.[3]

A 2012 survey, "Parents, Teens, and Online Privacy, from Harvard's Berkman Center for Internet & Society and the Pew Internet and American Life Project, finds that 81% of parents of younger Internet users express concern about the commercial exploitation of personal data; and 69% of parents of online teens are also concerned about the way a teen's reputation is being managed and the future implications of disclosures. The survey estimates that only 39% of parents of teens using Social Websites have helped their children adjust privacy settings.

Privacy Paradox Privacy Policy or Regulation cause Unintended consequences#

A 2012 study published in Social Psychological and Personality Science, "Misplaced Confidences: Privacy and the Control Paradox," investigates the extent to which a user's sense of control influences the type and amount of personal information a user discloses online. The researchers, from Carnegie Mellon University, conducted three survey-based experiments with more than 450 participants from a North American university on the release or accessibility of personal information online. The goal was ultimately to see how, in practice, humans respond to increased privacy controls.
Given the findings of the study, such controls could have unintended effects. The paradoxical policy implication of these findings is that the feeling of security conveyed by the provision of fine-grained privacy controls may lower concerns regarding the actual accessibility and usability of information, driving those provided with such protections to reveal more sensitive information to a larger audience."

Privacy Paradox and Loyalty Cards#

Loyalty Cards have many of the same tendencies of usage as other Online privacy and the same Privacy Considerations apply.

More Information#

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