Exploring Motivations for Online Privacy Protection Behavior: Insights from Panel Data

New publication by Sophie Boerman, Sanne Kruikemeier en Frederik Zuiderveen Borgesius in Communication Research, titled “Exploring Motivations for Online Privacy Protection Behavior: Insights From Panel Data”. Read the article here. Abstract: Personally managing and protecting online privacy has become an essential part of everyday life. This research draws on the protection motivation theory (PMT) to investigate privacy protective behavior online. A two-wave panel study (N = 928) shows that (1) people rarely to occasionally protect their online privacy and (2) people most often delete cookies and browser history or decline cookies to protect their online privacy. In addition, (3) the perceived threat is high: People perceive the collection, usage, and sharing of personal information as a severe problem to which they are susceptible. The coping appraisal is mixed: Although people do have confidence in some protective measures, they have little confidence in their own efficacy to protect their online privacy. Moreover, privacy protective behavior is affected by perceived severity and response efficacy. These findings emphasize the relevance of the PMT in the context of privacy threats, and have important implications for regulators.