Title: The disconnection between privacy notices and information disclosure: An online experiment.
Citation: ECONOMIA POLITICA vol. 33 no. 3 p. 433-461
Publication Year: 2016
JRC N°: JRC103186
ISSN: 1120-2890
URI: http://link.springer.com/article/10.1007%2Fs40888-016-0040-4
DOI: 10.1007/s40888-016-0040-4
Type: Articles in periodicals and books
Abstract: We studied whether changes to the online environment, i.e. nudges, can lead to changes in privacy behaviour through an on-line experiment (n=3,229) across four European countries. The output measures were obtained through the answers to a questionnaire following a mock online exercise: one revealed the amount of personal information participants were willing to disclose, and the other whether they noticed a privacy policy link. The nudges appeared as changes in the design of a mock search engine (e.g. including an anthropomorphic character, highlighting prior browsing history or changing the look-and-feel to convey greater informality). The nudges did not lead to differences in the amount of personal information disclosed, but did affect whether participants noticed the privacy link or not. Socio-demographic factors were relevant. Compared to younger participants, older participants were less likely to reveal personal information but more likely to notice the privacy policy link. Men were more likely to reveal personal information than women, and more likely to notice the privacy policy link. Finally, significant differences were found between all countries. Participants from Italy chose to reveal least personal information (followed by those in Poland, Germany and the UK), and participants from the UK were significantly less likely to notice the privacy policy link. The implications for policy are that disclosure of personal information is resilient to small changes in the web environment, but this is not the case for awareness of a privacy policy link. Moreover, the fact that age, gender, and country of residence are relevant suggests that differentiated policy approaches depending on the target population may be warranted.
JRC Directorate:Growth and Innovation

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