Online Privacy: Consumer Concerns and Technological Competence

Online Privacy: Consumer Concerns and Technological Competence

Pushkala Raman (Florida State University, USA) and Kartik Pashupati (Southern Methodist University, USA)
Copyright: © 2005 |Pages: 26
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-59140-372-2.ch010
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The primary research objectives of this chapter are to: (a) investigate consumer attitudes to the invasion of online privacy, and (b) discover coping strategies used by consumers when they are online. Using a grounded theory approach, a framework of how consumers deal with online privacy concerns was developed from the analysis of six focus groups across gender and age segments. The framework suggests that people differ in their level of self-perceived technological competence (SPTC), which in turn determines their level of concern and coping strategies used. We define SPTC as a subjective self-rating of how much individuals know about technology, and how comfortable they feel with it. The level of SPTC appears to differentiate the online behaviors and privacy concerns of consumers. People with low levels of SPTC tend to be more concerned about privacy invasion, feel more comfortable with offline interactions, reduce their Internet usage, and seek regulatory solutions to privacy invasion threats. People with higher levels of SPTC are more willing to accept the risks of being online, and tend to be cautious in their online dealings without foregoing the benefits of the Internet. This group is also more likely to know about and use features such as security locks, and Internet seals of approval.

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