Laura Brandimarte, Alessandro Acquisti, George Loewenstein (2010) Misplaced Confidences: Privacy and the Control Paradox, In: Ninth Annual Workshop on the Economics of Information Security (WEIS) June 7-8 2010 Harvard University, Cambridge, MA
We introduce and test the hypothesis that increasing perceived control over the release of private information will decrease individuals’ concern about privacy and increase their propensity to disclose sensitive information, even when the objective risks associated with such disclosures do not change or worsen. Three online experiments manipulated participants’ control over information release, but not over access and usage by others. The experiments show paradoxical effects whereby increased (decreased) control over the release of private information increases (decreases) willingness to publish sensitive information, even when the probability that strangers will access that information stays the same or increases (decreases). Our findings highlight how technologies that make individuals feel more in control over the release of personal information may have the unintended consequence of eliciting greater disclosure of sensitive information.
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