Online Privacy Policies: An Empirical Perspective on Self-Regulatory Practices

Online Privacy Policies: An Empirical Perspective on Self-Regulatory Practices

Noushin Ashrafi (University of Massachusetts Boston, USA) and Jean-Pierre Kuilboer (University of Massachusetts Boston, USA)
Copyright: © 2005 |Pages: 14
DOI: 10.4018/jeco.2005100104


Based on U.S. census data, more than three-fourths of Internet users are concerned about having control over the release of their private information when using online services. To ease consumers’ concerns, the Internet industry has come up with self-regulatory practices. The effectiveness of self-regulatory practices and the commitment of the Internet industry to online privacy are yet to be evaluated. The questions regarding self-regulation, what it means from the industry point of view, and to what extent it is implanted remains unclear. This study is exploratory in nature and attempts to examine privacy issues in the context of fair information practices and how they are perceived and practiced by the top 500 interactive companies in the United States. Our results confirm that most companies ask for consumer trust by claiming benevolence. However, they fall short when it comes to costly implementations of comprehensive privacy protection policies.

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