Ignorance is Bliss: The Effect of Increased Knowledge on Privacy Concerns and Internet Shopping Site Personalization Preferences

Ignorance is Bliss: The Effect of Increased Knowledge on Privacy Concerns and Internet Shopping Site Personalization Preferences

Thomas P. Van Dyke (The University of North Carolina Greensboro, USA)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-87828-991-9.ch157
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Abstract

Studies have shown that people claim that privacy matters to them but then they often do things while browsing that are risky in terms of privacy. The seeming inconsistency between professed privacy concerns and risky behavior on the Internet may be more a consequence of ignorance rather than irrationality. It is possible that many people simply don’t understand the technologies, risks, and regulations related to privacy and information gathering on the Web. In this study, we conducted an experiment to determine the answer to the following question: If people understood the risks and technology, would that knowledge alter their level of privacy concern and their preferences concerning e-commerce Web site personalization? Results indicate that increased awareness of information gathering technology resulted in significantly higher levels of privacy concern and significantly reduced preferences for Web site personalization. Implications of the findings are discussed.

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