The concept of digital privacy is intricate and multi-dimensional. In the realm
of social psychology, privacy is characterized as the intentional management of
who is permitted access to one's personal information and personal space. From
an economic standpoint, privacy is linked to the unease and potential hazards
that arise when one loses control over their personal data.
In the context of
advancing technologies such as AI and big data, the digital transformation of
personal life and the widespread use of smart applications have broadened the
scope of privacy to encompass what is now known as digital privacy. This paper
offers a comprehensive overview of the progression of privacy research from
three distinct vantage points i.e., Privacy as a fundamental psychological
necessity, Privacy as an economic consideration involving trade-offs, Privacy as
a technological artifact.
Together, these three perspectives provide a holistic view of the evolving
landscape of privacy research, encompassing its psychological, economic, and
technological dimensions, and how they intersect in the era of digital privacy.
The ongoing development of information technology (IT) is driving the digital
transformation forward. Online platforms, smart devices, and applications of
artificial intelligence (AI) have had a profound impact on various aspects of
personal life, such as commerce, social networking, transportation, and
In the age of big data, the automated collection of extremely
detailed personal data has fueled advancements in AI and data mining algorithms,
leading to unparalleled consumer insights and the provision of highly
personalized services. However, this era of big data has also given rise to
concerns regarding the collection and utilization of digital personal data by
Instances of privacy violations are frequently reported and
debated, resulting in significant apprehension and unease among consumers of
digital services. Consequently, there is an urgent requirement for effective
management systems and regulatory policies to govern privacy-related practices
in this age of big data.
Substantial research efforts have been devoted to
comprehending digital privacy from various angles. These efforts encompass
discussions related to e-commerce transactions and online social networking,
examining the factors influencing information privacy concerns and their
consequences, thereby shedding light on the management of customer privacy.
Economists have explored the economic trade-off between privacy and the use of
online services. In the realm of technology, research has been concentrated on
understanding how personal information can be inferred from shared data, with
the aim of enhancing information system security and developing algorithms that
facilitate data transactions without compromising privacy. Digital privacy is an
On one hand, advancements in information technology
encourage the collection and utilization of personal data while also providing
tools for safeguarding and managing privacy. On the other hand, privacy
protection extends beyond personal data to safeguarding an individual's personal
space and psychological autonomy on the Internet.
As digital and online social
interactions continue to flourish, and as the sharing of extremely detailed
personal data becomes more prevalent, it is imperative to address privacy
concerns appropriately to safeguard users while also fostering the growth of the
digital economy. To support interdisciplinary research on digital privacy and
establish a comprehensive research agenda for the management of digital privacy,
there is a need for a systematic conceptual framework.
This paper presents an
ontology of digital privacy that combines behavioral, economic, and technical
perspectives. This ontology is developed based on a thorough yet succinct review
of existing research on digital privacy.
Digital Privacy - Towards An Ontology
Based on a thorough examination of previous research, an ontology of digital
privacy is proposed, taking into account the psychological, economic, and
technical dimensions of privacy concerns in the digital economy. Digital privacy
is defined as the deliberate psychological and technical control of access to
one's digital self, encompassing online profiles, personal data, and digital
This proposed ontology consolidates the collective knowledge on digital
privacy issues and reveals the logical connections between various concepts.
Five core concepts have emerged from existing academic discourse on digital
privacy: digital privacy, personal boundary management, personal data
management, privacy concerns, and privacy coping.
At the core of digital privacy
lies the necessity for individuals to distinguish themselves from their social
environment, which is crucial for establishing and preserving their self-concept
and individuality. This process is known as personal boundary management. In
essence, personal boundary management defines the self as a unique individual
and asserts privacy claims.
Digital technologies have given rise to an
individual's digital representation in the virtual space. With the advancement
of the digital economy, this digital representation has evolved from being a
collection of personal data (addressing personal data management needs) to
becoming an integral part of one's self-concept-the virtual self. In the digital
economy, individuals engage with a diverse range of peers in the contexts of
online communities, e-commerce, online services, and social networks, all while
maintaining their digital identities.
Such online social interactions often blur
the natural boundaries that help individuals control their adopted identity and
maintain their self-concepts. Effective personal boundary management enables
individuals to delineate boundaries in their work and non-work roles, thus
governing multiple sub-concepts.
While personal data management primarily
concerns the interaction between platform owners (i.e., service vendors) and
users, digital privacy directly relates to personal boundary management in all
social interactions, encompassing personal data management as a fundamental subdomain. A lack of control in personal boundary management leads to privacy
concerns, which, in turn, prompt efforts to cope with these privacy issues.
igital platforms play a pivotal role in enabling or jeopardizing personal
boundary management by designing and implementing technical tools that shape the
environment for privacy coping behaviors. Privacy regulation influences the
development of platform policies, which, in turn, inform the design of technical
tools. In this framework, nine distinct relationships are identified, and the
underlying principles guiding these relationships are thoroughly discussed.
Managing Privacy On Digital Platform
The digital privacy ontology discussed in this context serves as a comprehensive
framework for comprehending issues related to privacy in the digital realm. It
breaks down the concept of privacy into its constituent sub-concepts that
influence individuals' behaviour online. More importantly, it brings to light
the roles played by technological tools, platform governance, and regulatory
policies in the realm of digital privacy management. Conversations regarding
digital privacy often revolve around the establishment, progression, and
regulation of online platforms.
These platforms, which include e-commerce,
social networking services, and online financial services, must not only address
concerns regarding the protection of personal digital data but also create a
technical environment for online engagement that minimizes privacy-related
By recognizing the significance of digital platforms and building on
this ontology, the boundary resource perspective is proposed as a valuable
theoretical framework. This perspective unites discussions across multiple
disciplines and enhances our understanding of privacy management practices
within the digital economy, especially in the context of online platforms driven
by personal data.
Importance Of Digital Privacy Is Monumental
Lack of digital privacy can lead to the potential:
What does privacy mean in the digital age?
- Your health-related data and assessments, including health risks, may be
traded to insurance companies, enabling them to make decisions such as
denying you coverage or adjusting your premium rates
- Information about your predicted voting preferences can be sold, and if
you are undecided, you can become the target of campaigns designed to
influence your voting behavior. The inherent workings of human psychology
make individuals susceptible to such manipulation.
- Calculated data concerning your cognitive abilities, lifestyle, and
psychological characteristics can be exposed and used for various purposes.
In the virtual world where every action we take can be tracked, however, privacy
may seem more like an ideal concept than a reality. Your search history, the
posts you 'like' on social media, and every keystroke you make on a digital
device-you may expect this information to be private, but too often it is not.
Online Privacy Constructs
In this chapter, we delve into the factors that shape customers' perceptions of
online privacy. Drawing from prior research on privacy in both online and
offline settings, we've identified 4 out of 15 key factors that influence
customer privacy concerns and their subsequent behaviour.
The focus of this
article is primarily on privacy issues in the realm of e-commerce. To ensure a
comprehensive approach to privacy considerations, we propose a categorization of
these factors based on the following groups, which help organize the myriad
influences on Internet users' privacy concerns:
- Customer-intrinsic factors:
These encompass customer perceptions, beliefs, and attitudes regarding
direct marketing and in-home shopping, the level of trust they place in
these practices, mechanisms for controlling their information, and the
processes of data collection.
- Web site-related factors:
These pertain to aspects of the website itself, including its design,
security measures, and transparency in handling user data.
- Situational factors:
As suggested by some scholars, in
addition to the four groups of factors mentioned above, there may be other
factors connected to specific situations that can impact privacy concerns.
categorization framework allows us to comprehensively examine and understand the
diverse factors that influence Internet users' privacy concerns, including those
related to legislation and government protection.
Research Model Pf Online Privacy
According to Internet World Statistics, approximately 23.8% of the global
population currently utilizes the internet. The widespread adoption of the World
Wide Web has paved the way for various online businesses, with online shopping
and e-banking being the most popular among them.
However, there's a lack of
comprehensive information regarding the factors that influence the acceptance of
online shopping and e-banking. This study proposes a research model focusing on
the online privacy perceptions of e-banking and online shopping users.
suggests a correlation between users' privacy perceptions on the internet and
five key factors:
- Customer-specific factors
- Customer and website relationships
- Website characteristics
- Situational factors
- Legislation and government protection-related factors
Each of these factors is associated
with specific constructs (measurable elements), as illustrated in the figure. To
compile a comprehensive set of 94 items that influence consumers' online privacy
concerns, the researchers drew from existing privacy literature and used three
- Incorporating original items from previous research.
- Modifying existing items to fit the study's context.
- Creating entirely new items.
participants' perception of how well their privacy is protected when using
e-banking and online shopping services was assessed using a four-item scale
named "User's privacy perception." This scale measures users' assessments and
anxieties regarding how online companies or banks handle the information they
The study also measured users' satisfaction with privacy protection in
two contexts: during their everyday online activities and when using e-banking
or online shopping services. Users' satisfaction with privacy protection during
everyday online activities reflects their contentment with the privacy practices
and protection mechanisms employed by online service providers.
satisfaction with privacy protection when using e-banking or online shopping
services gauges their satisfaction with the methods employed by banks and online
companies to secure and protect their online privacy. These measures were rated
on a five-point Likert scale.
Online privacy protection is the responsibility of all participants in the
online market, including individuals and organizations. Individuals should take
responsibility for their own information by understanding and making decisions
about what information they share, understanding how and which information will
be collected during online transactions, and actively protecting their
information by using all possible protection mechanisms.
Individuals can become more careful about what information you share online.
Only share information that you are comfortable with being made public. They
should read the privacy policies of websites and apps before you use them. This
will help you understand what information they are collecting and how they will
use it. Use strong passwords and enable two-factor authentication on all of your
online accounts. Be careful about clicking on links in emails or messages. These
links could lead to phishing websites that are designed to steal your personal
information. Keep your software up to date. Software updates often include
security patches that can help protect your devices from malware.
information you collect, how you use it, and with whom you share it. Giving
customers control over their information collection. Allow them to opt in or out
of data collection and to access and correct their personal information. Protect
collected customer information from improper access. Use strong security
measures to protect your data from hackers and other unauthorized individuals.
Be transparent about your privacy practices. Inform customers about any changes
collection or sharing practices. By following these tips, individuals and
organizations can help to protect online privacy.
Organizations should take responsibility for protecting and securing customers'
online privacy by informing customers about their privacy practices, defining
their responsibilities and behaviour regarding the protection of customer
personal information, and using all possible mechanisms to make clear to their
customers that they will not misuse or sell the collected information.
The results of research on online privacy perception can be used to improve the
development of new e-services or to modify existing ones. By incorporating these
requirements into the design of new e-services, organizations can give customers
control over their information collection, protect collected customer
information from improper access, and regulate customer online privacy
protection according to current privacy legislation.
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