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Caring is not enough: the importance of Internet skills for online privacy protection


Büchi, M; Just, N; Latzer, M (2017). Caring is not enough: the importance of Internet skills for online privacy protection. Information, Communication and Society, 20(8):1261-1278.

Abstract

This article explains Internet users’ self-help activities in protecting their privacy online using structural equation modeling. Based on a representative survey of Swiss Internet users, it reveals past experiences with privacy breaches as a strong predictor of current protective behavior. Further, in line with the ‘privacy paradox’ argument, caring about privacy (privacy attitudes) alone does not necessarily result in substantial self-protection. Most strikingly, however, general Internet skills are key in explaining users’ privacy behavior. These skills enable users to reduce risks of privacy loss while obtaining the benefits from online activities that increasingly depend on the revelation of personal data. Consequently, Internet skills are an essential starting point for public policies regarding users’ self-help in privacy protection.

Abstract

This article explains Internet users’ self-help activities in protecting their privacy online using structural equation modeling. Based on a representative survey of Swiss Internet users, it reveals past experiences with privacy breaches as a strong predictor of current protective behavior. Further, in line with the ‘privacy paradox’ argument, caring about privacy (privacy attitudes) alone does not necessarily result in substantial self-protection. Most strikingly, however, general Internet skills are key in explaining users’ privacy behavior. These skills enable users to reduce risks of privacy loss while obtaining the benefits from online activities that increasingly depend on the revelation of personal data. Consequently, Internet skills are an essential starting point for public policies regarding users’ self-help in privacy protection.

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Additional indexing

Item Type:Journal Article, refereed, original work
Communities & Collections:06 Faculty of Arts > Institute of Mass Communication and Media Research
Dewey Decimal Classification:700 Arts
Uncontrolled Keywords:Surveillance/privacy, skills, Internet use, privacy protection, personal information, governance
Language:English
Date:2017
Deposited On:10 Oct 2016 07:01
Last Modified:28 Apr 2017 01:00
Publisher:Taylor & Francis
ISSN:1369-118X
Publisher DOI:https://doi.org/10.1080/1369118X.2016.1229001

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