2014 ISECON Proceedings - Abstract Presentation

What's the Price of Privacy? A Study of the Perceptions of College Students and Industry Professionals on the Costs of Information Privacy

Philip Kim
Walsh University

Richard Metzer
Robert Morris University

Robert Agnor

Joseph Homan
Cornerstone Consulting

Jennifer Breese-Vitelli
Robert Morris University

Information privacy issues have been garnering national and international headlines recently. From Julian Assange’s WikiLeaks to former CIA and NSA computer professional Edward Snowden’s leaked documents, to the release of Donald Sterling’s racist rants and the subsequent lifetime ban from the NBA, the landscape and expectation of information privacy is rapidly changing. According to a recent poll by the Pew Research Internet Project, almost 60% of internet users “do not believe it is possible to be completely anonymous online” [8, p.2]. Most students and industry professionals rely on the internet, e-mail, electronic documents, databases, and social media websites to communicate and interact with one another [2]. The role of Web 2.0 collaborative technologies (e.g., wikis, blogs and micro-blogging platforms) continues to grow within a social as well as professional setting [4]. For example, wikis can be used to facilitate knowledge management, and both synchronous and asynchronous communication within a team-based learning environment. Research has shown the benefits of using wikis and blogs in the classroom. Students are familiar with the technology and the learning curve is relatively short [1]. This study will further explore if the use of internet technologies impact the perceptions and practices of information privacy. It has been well documented that millennial students are very familiar with Web 2.0 technologies, especially the dynamic and instantaneous communication platforms provided by Facebook and Twitter [3; 9]. With the integration of social media networks in corporate settings, there are less distinct boundaries between work and social communication. And yet, there is clearly an expectation of privacy security among some Internet users [6]. However, several studies indicate that while everybody wants privacy when it is free, when they are given a choice between paying a small fee for additional privacy or pay nothing for unsecure access, most choose the latter [5; 10]. Are there differences in perceptions and practices of students versus industry professionals as it relates to information privacy? “The latest national survey by the Pew Research Center and the Washington Post… finds no indications that the government’s collection of phone records and internet data have altered fundamental public views about the tradeoff between investigating possible terrorism and protecting personal privacy” [7, p.2]. This research will examine the perceptions, attitudes, and practices of information privacy among students and industry professionals. The proposed study population will include traditional undergraduate and graduate students within both the on-ground and e-learning course delivery modes as well as industry professionals across various backgrounds.

Recommended Citation: Kim, P., Metzer, R., Agnor, R., Homan, J., Breese-Vitelli, J., (2014). What's the Price of Privacy? A Study of the Perceptions of College Students and Industry Professionals on the Costs of Information Privacy. The Proceedings of the Information Systems Education Conference, v.31 n.3195, Baltimore, Maryland