An exploratory investigation into internet users' perception regarding the data privacy policies of virtual companies operating in Ireland

Anita Kealy, Felicity Kelliher

Research output: Contribution to conferencePaperpeer-review

1 Citation (Scopus)

Abstract

Virtual companies (i.e. a company that does not have a physical footprint and exists only on-line) have introduced new elements of risk and trust criteria for Internet users, and consumer concerns surrounding this medium have not been fully investigated to date. This paper examines the privacy concerns that the consumer has when providing personal details when transacting with virtual companies. The paper goes on to explore consumer awareness of virtual company's privacy policies and seal programmes that were designed to address these concerns. The key objective is to: identify and analyse the concerns of the Irish population in relation to privacy when purchasing from virtual firms. The researchers have taken a quantitative approach to the research, having developed a survey questionnaire for the purposes of eliciting consumer views relating to privacy concerns when purchasing from virtual firms in the Irish context. A comprehensive literature review preceded the research instrument development, while the pilot study consisted of conducting the face-to-face survey with four demographically dispersed respondents, followed by a short interview in each case. The purpose of this exploratory phase of the research project was to provide for refinement of the survey instrument in the context of the literature, in preparation for a larger survey to be conducted throughout Ireland's South East region. Preliminary research results suggest that privacy concerns are high, but conversely, that there is little awareness of privacy policies or seal programmes among Irish consumers. Notably, consumers are unlikely to have read a virtual organisation's privacy policy despite identified concerns, and this finding is consistent among all pilot participants. Based on the pilot study findings, the survey instrument has been refined to allow for objective collection of data in the main research project, and statistical analysis to give meaning to the results.

Original languageEnglish
Pages257-264
Number of pages8
Publication statusPublished - 2007
EventEuropean Conference on Information Management and Evaluation, ECIME 2007 - Montpellier, France
Duration: 20 Sep 200721 Sep 2007

Conference

ConferenceEuropean Conference on Information Management and Evaluation, ECIME 2007
Country/TerritoryFrance
CityMontpellier
Period20/09/200721/09/2007

Keywords

  • Consumer
  • Online
  • Privacy policy
  • Virtual firm

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