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Sleights of privacy: Framing, disclosures, and the limits of transparency

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conference contribution
posted on 04.08.2022, 17:50 authored by Idris AdjeridIdris Adjerid, Alessandro AcquistiAlessandro Acquisti, Laura Brandimarte, George LoewensteinGeorge Loewenstein
In an effort to address persistent consumer privacy concerns, policy makers and the data industry seem to have found common grounds in proposals that aim at making online privacy more "transparent." Such self-regulatory approaches rely on, among other things, providing more and better information to users of Internet services about how their data is used. However, we illustrate in a series of experiments that even simple privacy notices do not consistently impact disclosure behavior, and may in fact be used to nudge individuals to disclose variable amounts of personal information. In a first experiment, we demonstrate that the impact of privacy notices on disclosure is sensitive to relative judgments, even when the objective risks of disclosure actually stay constant. In a second experiment, we show that the impact of privacy notices on disclosure can be muted by introducing simple misdirections that do not alter the objective risk of disclosure. These findings cast doubts on the likelihood of initiatives predicated around notices and transparency to address, by themselves, online privacy concerns.


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