Public Opinions of Online Privacy: Definitions, Assessment and Implications for Industry and Public Policy

Public Opinions of Online Privacy: Definitions, Assessment and Implications for Industry and Public Policy

Kim Sheehan (University of Oregon, USA)
Copyright: © 2005 |Pages: 14
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-59140-372-2.ch009
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Abstract

Past research has indicated that public opinion polls can have a strong effect on public policy decisions. Since the advent of a commercialized Internet, numerous polls have assessed American’s views on privacy in both the online and off-line context. Privacy is arguable a highly salient issue among Americans today, with one poll showing that online Americans are more concerned about privacy than health care, crime, and taxes (National Consumer League, 2000). Privacy, though, is a complex concept that may be difficult to measure using simple polling questions. A five-dimension framework of privacy (awareness, usage, type of information, relationship, and compensation) is used to examine how well current privacy polls measure the privacy construct. Taken as a whole, the poll questions do an adequate job of addressing four of the five dimensions of the privacy framework. However, many polls ask about privacy concern using only one question. Few polls offer a range of questions that can help best understand this complex construct.

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