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BY-NC-ND 4.0 license Open Access Published by De Gruyter Open Access June 27, 2017

Factors Affecting Students’ Privacy Paradox and Privacy Protection Behavior

Maor Weinberger EMAIL logo , Dan Bouhnik and Maayan Zhitomirsky-Geffet
From the journal Open Information Science


In this exploratory study, we investigate the factors affecting two opposite types of online privacy behavior: 1) online privacy paradox, i.e. a mismatch between users’ online privacy attitudes and their online privacy behavior; and 2) online privacy protection. To assess these two types of behavior, we devised a new direct scale comprising 25 items explicitly highlighting benefits and risks of the examined behavior. Various factors related to online privacy and anonymity were considered in light of the existing theories on online privacy behavior. To this end, 169 students from different fields of study in Israeli academia were administered closed-ended questionnaires. The multivariate linear regression analysis showed that information science students had a significantly lower tendency toward privacy paradox behavior compared to other students. In addition, we found that as the participants’ privacy concern and online privacy self efficacy increase, their tendency toward privacy paradox behavior decreases. However, surprisingly, there was no significant association between privacy protection behavior and high technical skills or online privacy literacy. This research has social implications for academia and the general public, as it shows that the protection of online privacy does not depend on technical knowledge or complicated tool usage, but rather can be achieved by raising users’ online privacy concern and self-efficacy.


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Received: 2016-12-2
Accepted: 2017-4-18
Published Online: 2017-6-27
Published in Print: 2017-6-27

© 2017

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