The Privacy Paradox in the Big Data Era? No Thanks, We Are the E-People: The E-People in the Big Data Era

The Privacy Paradox in the Big Data Era? No Thanks, We Are the E-People: The E-People in the Big Data Era

Marco Vassallo
Copyright: © 2019 |Pages: 16
DOI: 10.4018/IJCBPL.2019070103
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The objective of this work is to propose a new perspective in understanding the phenomenon of online behaviors, termed the privacy paradox, i.e., worry on preserving personal data and contents, but a little attention to disclose them, and thus introducing the new definition of e-people. The provocative hypothesis of this study regards the internet users who, in the Big Data era, are affected by a common covariation of being e-popular/e-visible, e-narcissist, e-(socially)-accepted, e-remembered. These e-behaviors will be conceptually gathered under the term of Achilles' paradigm. A structured web-questionnaire was submitted to a convenience sample of 198 internet users. First and second-order confirmatory factor analyses together with latent means models concretely supported the existence of the Achilles' paradigm and its impact on the privacy paradox concerns. As a result, the privacy paradox is not an effective paradox anymore: self-disclosing privacy online seems to be a well-accepted behavior.
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The Privacy Paradox In The Big Data Era? No Thanks, We Are The E-People

We live in the age of Big Data. A digital age in which all of us already have digitally extended selves (Parkinson, Millard, O’Hara, & Richard, 2017) and digital footprints disseminated in every single corner of the internet. On the other hand, the use of internet together with the advancing technology has made our life more convenient by providing many benefits in almost all facets of our society (Serra, 2018; Tene & Polonetsky, 2012). The Information and Communication Technology (ICT) makes our life easy in terms of commercial platforms, healthcare solutions and prompt interventions, social networking, behavioral economics utility, travel booking and so forth. As a consequence, trying to stay disconnected is unrealistic (Serra, 2018). But, what is the price of all this convenience? Possibly putting our privacy concerns at risk, since it does not seem possible to make use of the connected ICT if we do not share, in a way or another, our personal information. Same tech companies declare that it is hard to yield convenience without sacrificing security and privacy (The Internet Society, 2018). From the view point of the consumer, who is a common person the convenience easily outweighs the risks of disclosing privacy in terms of saving money and/or small, mostly foolish rewards (Prüfer & Dengler, 2018; Tene & Polonetsky, 2012) and “when consumers see the term ‘privacy policy’ they believe that their personal information will be protected in specific ways”(Turow, Hoofnagle, Mulligan, Good, & Grossklags., 2007, p. 724). Eventually, “we must remember that privacy is not a legal concept, even though (in some countries) some types of privacy breach are illegal or actionable” (O’Hara, 2016, p.89) and can be defined as “the freedom from unreasonable constraints on the construction of one’s own identity” (Agre & Rotenberg, 2001, cited in O’Hara, 2016, p. 89). Hence, why do modern people seem to be also worried about disclosing their privacy and personal information electronically? More formally, why do they seem to be affected by the so-called privacy paradox? (Barnes, 2006).

Recent systematic reviews (Barth & deJong, 2017; Gerber, Gerber, & Volkamer, 2018; Kokolakis, 2017) tried to shed light on this paradox by presenting different explanations. Briefly, most of researchers postulated rational, and/or irrational, behavioral processes of risk-benefit evaluation with more perceived benefits in terms of an immediate and small gratification (Barth & deJong, 2007; Kokolakis, 2017) or even small rewards (Carrascal, Riederer, Erramilli, Cherubini, and & de Oliveira, 2013). Cognition models of perceived social relevance on forms of self-disclosure were also interestingly suggested (Taddicken, 2014). However, a scientific consensus on explaining the privacy paradox has not been reached yet (Gerber et al., 2018; Kokolakis, 2017), and a social representation has not been established either (Oetzel & Gonja, 2011). Consequently, “attempts to theoretically explain and practically solve the problem of the privacy paradox are still scarce” (Barth & deJong, 2017, p. 15) and “there is still room for new theoretical perspectives” (Kokolakis, 2017, p. 23). Further research is necessary to understand the implications of the privacy paradox within a society where Internet of Things and Artificial Intelligence are both boosting (Serra, 2018). In this respect, the ambition of this exploratory study is twofold: (1) proposing a new theoretical approach as a potential explanation of the privacy paradox by looking into the latent traits of the internet users and (2) thus introducing the definition of the e-people.

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