Breaking the Privacy Paradox: The Value of Privacy and Associated Duty of Firms
Appeared In: Business Ethics Quarterly
Publication Date: January 2020
The oft-cited privacy paradox is the perceived disconnect between individuals’ stated privacy expectations, as captured in surveys, and consumer market behavior in going online: individuals purport to value privacy yet still disclose information to firms. The goal of this paper is to empirically examine the conceptualization of privacy post-disclosure assumed in the privacy paradox. Contrary to the privacy paradox, the results here suggest consumers retain strong privacy expectations even after disclosing information. Privacy violations are valued akin to security violations in creating distrust in firms and in consumer (un)willingness to engage with firms. This paper broadens the scope of corporate responsibility to suggest firms have a positive obligation to identify reasonable expectations of privacy of consumers. In addition, research perpetuating the privacy paradox, through the mistaken framing of disclosure as proof of anti-privacy behavior, gives license to firms to act contrary to the interests of consumers.
Martin, K. (2020). Breaking the Privacy Paradox: The Value of Privacy and Associated Duty of Firms. Business Ethics Quarterly, 30(1), 65-96. DOI:10.1017/beq.2019.24