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Work in progress: Fearful users’ privacy intentions: an empirical investigation

Lookup NU author(s): Dr Kovila Coopamootoo


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© 2017 Association for Computing Machinery. Background. While recent research has found that the affect dimension of privacy attitude is fear focused [14], fear is known in psychology literature to be asymmetric to one’s self-efficacy [5], that is one’s belief in successfully solving a problem. Therefore the question arises how a user feeling fear or one warned about privacy, intends to act. In particular whether the user intends to take protective or defensive action. Aim. We investigate the relationship between incidental affect state of [fear/ happiness], self-efficacy and privacy intention. Method. We conduct an observational Study 1, with N = 175 and an experimental Study 2, with N = 200. In both studies, we measure general self-efficacy, affect state and privacy intentions. In Study 2, we induce affect states of [fear/happiness] via autobiographical recall of emotive events and a 150-word free-form report. Results. A meta-analysis of correlation across both studies shows a negative correlation between Fear and Self-Efficacy. Fear is also negatively correlated to information disclosure, protection and refusal to transact intentions. We found a good fit for the data in a structural equation model, with causal links from Fear/Happiness to Self-Efficacy and from Self-Efficacy to protection intention. Conclusions. This research is novel in measuring fear together with self-efficacy and privacy intentions. The findings suggest that while the fearful user has a not-disclosing intention, in parallel, he also does not have a protection intention. While this research contributes to understanding the privacy paradox, it also suggests that a culture of fear online is not conducive to users actively protecting their privacy. In fact fear can lead to user dis-empowerment because of its influence on self-efficacy. These initial findings supports our larger research vision for deeper investigation of human affect in cyber security and privacy [11].

Publication metadata

Author(s): Coopamootoo KPL

Publication type: Conference Proceedings (inc. Abstract)

Publication status: Published

Conference Name: STAST '17 Proceedings of the 7th Workshop on Socio-Technical Aspects in Security and Trust

Year of Conference: 2018

Pages: 82-89

Online publication date: 05/12/2018

Acceptance date: 02/04/2018

Publisher: Association for Computing Machinery


DOI: 10.1145/3167996.3168004

Library holdings: Search Newcastle University Library for this item

ISBN: 9781450363570