Do online privacy concerns predict privacy behavior?

In a new article, we (Lemi Baruh, Ekin Seçinti, Zeynep Cemalcılar) meta-analytically chime in on the frequently debated concept of “privacy paradox”.  We  investigate whether users’ reported privacy concerns and literacy influence the extent to which they utilize online services (including but not limited to SNSs), disclose personal information and adopt measures to protect their privacy. Privacy concerns did not predict SNS use; however, it was associated with lower disclosure of information, lower use of other types of online services (e.g., e-commerce), and higher tendency to engage in privacy protective measures.

Click here for access to the article.

Click here for access to additional information about the meta-analysis.

Cyberpsychology’s special issue on self-disclosure and privacy published

Privacy and disclosure special issue of Cyberpsychology: Journal of Psychosocial Research on Cyberspace edited by Michel Walrave, Sonja Utz, Alexander P. Schouten, Wannes Heirman is now out and available for download (and hopefully for wide reading, discussing, citing).

Also included in the special issue is an article from SIMLAB (Murat Kezer, Barış Sevi, Zeynep Cemalcılar, and Lemi Baruh). The article compares three age groups  (18-40, 41-65, 65+) in terms of their tendency to self-disclose on Facebook, and their privacy attitudes, privacy literacy and use of privacy protective measures.

The study reports that young adults are more likely than other age groups to self-disclose on Facebook; yet, they are also the age group that is most likely to utilize privacy protective measures on Facebook. Furthermore, using a multidimensional approach to privacy attitude measurement, the study reports that while young adults are more likely to be concerned about their own privacy, mature adults tend to be more concerned about others’ privacy. Finally, the findings of the study suggest that the impact of privacy attitudes on privacy-protective behaviors is strongest among mature adults.

Here is the link to the full article.

We thank the editors of the special issue Michel Walrave, Sonja Utz, Alexander P. Schouten, Wannes Heirman for the opportunity.

Why “notice and choice” approaches to privacy reduce our privacy

In a recently published article, we (Lemi Baruh and Mihaela Popescu) discuss the limitations of reliance on market mechanisms for privacy protection.

Self-management frameworks such as “notice or choice” are inherently biased towards 1) reducing the level of privacy enjoyed by the members of the society and 2) creating privacy inequities (i.e., privacy haves and have nots). In the article we also discuss an alternative way of approaching privacy protection in the age of big data analytics.

Here is the abstract:

This article looks at how the logic of big data analytics, which promotes an aura of unchallenged objectivity to the algorithmic analysis of quantitative data, preempts individuals’ ability to self-define and closes off any opportunity for those inferences to be challenged or resisted. We argue that the predominant privacy protection regimes based on the privacy self-management framework of “notice and choice” not only fail to protect individual privacy, but also underplay privacy as a collective good. To illustrate this claim, we discuss how two possible individual strategies—withdrawal from the market (avoidance) and complete reliance on market-provided privacy protections (assimilation)—may result in less privacy options available to the society at large. We conclude by discussing how acknowledging the collective dimension of privacy could provide more meaningful alternatives for privacy protection.

Introducing a “multidimensional privacy attitudes scale”

As one of our first research project in SIMLAB (founded in late 2012), we (Lemi Baruh & Zeynep Cemalcılar) had been working on developing a multidimensional privacy orientation scale. The scale is summarised in an article published in November 2014 in Personality and Individual Differences.

The article reports that individuals’ decisions about level of privacy they need is determined not only by concern about themselves but also concern about privacy of other individuals:

  • There are four distinction dimensions of privacy:  (1) belief in the value of “privacy as a right”; (2) “other-contingent privacy”; (3) “concern about own informational privacy” and (4) “concern about privacy of others.”
  • A segmentation of users in terms of these four dimensions of privacy points to three distinct types of users: 1) privacy advocates,who are concerned about both their own and other people’s privacy; (2) privacy individualists, who are concerned mostly about their own privacy, and (3) privacy indifferents, whose score on all dimensions are lower than other segments.User segments are privacy advocates, privacy individualists, privacy indifferents.
  • Users who value others’ privacy are less likely to invade informational privacy.
  • Privacy individualists use social network sites for satisfying voyeuristic curiosity.
  • Reciprocating disclosure is more likely for privacy advocates than for individualists.

The multidimensional scale has 18 items, all measured using a 5-point likert scale (ranging from strongly disagree to strongly agree):

Dimension 1: Privacy as a Right

  • Privacy laws should be strengthened to protect personal privacy.
  • People need legal protection against misuse of personal data.
  • If I were to write a constitution today, I would probably add privacy as a fundamental right.

Dimension 2: Concern about Own Informational Privacy

  • When I share the details of my personal life with somebody, I often worry that he/she will tell those details to other people.
  • I am concerned that people around me know too much about me.
  • I am concerned with the consequences of sharing identity information
  • I worry about sharing information with more people than I intend to.

Dimension 3: Other-Contingent Privacy

  • If somebody is not careful about protecting their own privacy, I cannot trust them about respecting mine.
  • If I am to enjoy some privacy in my life, I need my friends to be careful about protecting their privacy as well.
  • I could never trust someone as my confidant if they go around sharing details about their own private lives.
  • The level of privacy that I can enjoy depends on the extent to which people around me protect their own privacy.

Dimension 4: Concern about Privacy of Others

  • It is important for me to respect the privacy of individuals, even if they are not careful about protecting their own privacy.
  • I value other people’s privacy as much as I value mine
  • Even when somebody is not careful about his/her privacy, I do my best to respect that person’s privacy
  • I always do my best not to intrude into other people’s private lives
  • Respect for others’ privacy should be an important priority in social relations

Please feel free to use (and/or translate) scale. We would appreciate it greatly if you could notify us about an translation of the scale.

Citation information: 

Baruh, Lemi, and Zeynep Cemalcılar. 2014. “It Is More than Personal: Development and Validation of a Multidimensional Privacy Orientation Scale.” Personality and Individual Differences 70 (November). Elsevier Ltd: 165–70. doi:10.1016/j.paid.2014.06.042.

COSMIC Report on Citizens’ Involvement in Crises

COSMIC (Contribution of Social Media in Crisis Management) project partners MixLab at Koç University and Hellenic Rescue Team has drafted a report on Citizens’ Involvement in Emergency Communications. The report seeks to examine the various roles that citizens may have in communications during emergencies. Also, the report maps the relationship between the use of different types of media and communication technologies—including mass media, as well as new media technologies—and citizens’ involvement in emergency communications as,

  1. potential or actual volunteers (first responders) who may aid emergency response and rescue;
  2. as social activists who may utilise online networks to organise, coordinate, collaborate or mobilise during political crises; and
  3. as citizens who report on emergencies and political crises.

With respect to the role that citizens may play as first responders, the report focuses on how various communication media are utilised by response organisations and government agencies to identify, recruit, network with and train citizens.  In order to accomplish this goal, the partners engaged in an in-depth analysis of citizen awareness programs and volunteer recruitment and training processes in four different countries:  Turkey, Italy, United Kingdom, and Greece.

The report also discusses social activism as a form of citizen involvement in crises (predominantly political crises). Particularly, the section on social activism discusses  how social activist formations use media to recruit members and/or form networks, communicate ideas, and coordinate action.

Finally, regarding the role that citizens can play as reporters/journalists during emergencies and crises, discuss  issues related to news selection processes, types of coverage (commentary vs. news), types of sources used by citizen journalists and citizen journalists’ perceptions regarding issues like reliability of information. In order to do so, the report summarises findings from  a content analysis of the articles published by citizens who reported about four emergencies/crises and online interviews conducted with a sample of citizens whose reports were content analysed.

Click Here for a copy of the report.

A new book on Social Interaction Technologies, coming out soon

Here we are again with an announcement of a new book… This new book, perhaps the first of its kind, is  edited by Tatyana Dumova and Richard Fiorno and is entitled Handbook of Research on Social Interaction Technologies and Collaboration Software: Concepts and Trends. The book is expected to be out in July, 2009 from IGI Global.

SocialIntTech

I am happy to have contributed to this volume with two chapters:

  • Social Media Marketing: Web X.0 of Opportunities (Chapter 4).
  • Public Intimacy and the New Face (Book) of Surveillance: The Role of Social Media in Shaping Contemporary Dataveillance (Chapter 35, with Levent Soysal).

Below is a detailed description of the book.  You can also click here for the abstracts of all the chapters.

We live in a time unparalleled in human history: a time of fundamental cultural, political, social, and economic change marked by an exponential growth in human powers to electronically collect, process, store, retrieve and disseminate information and create new knowledge.

The Handbook of Research on Social Interaction Technologies and Collaboration Software: Concepts and Trends focuses on the latest explosion of Internet-based collaboration tools and platforms reaching end-users; it explores their origins, structures, purposes, and functions; and it muses over how SIT can expand human abilities and powers. This broad spectrum of applications and services includes: online social networking, blogs, wikis, podcasts, web feeds, folksonomies, social bookmaking, photo and video sharing, discussion forums, virtual worlds, and mashups intended to advance interaction, collaboration, and sharing online.

Key Features:
  • 50 authoritative contributions by the world’s leading experts in social interaction technologies and collaboration software
  • Comprehensive coverage of each specific topic, highlighting recent trends and describing the latest advances in the field
  • More than 1,750 references to existing literature and research on social interaction technologies and collaboration software
  • A compendium of over 380 key terms with detailed definitions
  • Organized by topic and indexed, making it a convenient method of reference for all IT/IS scholars and professionals
  • Cross-referencing of key terms, figures, and information pertinent to social interaction technologies and collaboration software
  • Societies Under Siege Conference – Presentation

    About two weeks ago, an international conference entitled Societies Under Siege: Media, Government, Politics and Citizens’ Freedoms in an Age of Terrorism was organized by the Faculty of Communications at Kadir Has University (organization committee chair was Dr. Banu Baybars Hawks).

    I also had a chance to present a paper and  revisit some of my previous work on journalism, framing and surveillance in contemporary societies.

    Here’s the link to the presentation…