E-privacy in 2nd generation E-commerce: Privacy preferences versus actual behavior

Sarah Spiekermann, Jens Grossklags, Bettina Berendt

Research output: Contribution to conferencePaperpeer-review

344 Scopus citations


As electronic commerce environments become more and more interactive, privacy is a matter of increasing concern. Many surveys have investigated households' privacy attitudes and concerns, revealing a general desire among Internet users to protect their privacy. To complement these questionnaire-based studies, we conducted an experiment in which we compared self-reported privacy preferences of 171 participants with their actual disclosing behavior during an online shopping episode. Our results suggest that current approaches to protect online users' privacy, such as EU data protection regulation or P3P, may face difficulties to do so effectively. This is due to their underlying assumption that people are not only privacy conscious, but will also act accordingly. In our study, most individuals stated that privacy was important to them, with concern centering on the disclosure of different aspects of personal information. However, regardless of their specific privacy concerns, most participants did not live up to their self-reported privacy preferences. As participants were drawn into the sales dialogue with an anthropomorphic 3-D shopping bot, they answered a majority of questions, even if these were highly personal. Moreover, different privacy statements had no effect on the amount of information disclosed; in fact, the mentioning of EU regulation seemed to cause a feeling of 'false security'. The results suggest that people appreciate highly communicative EC environments and forget privacy concerns once they are 'inside the Web'.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Number of pages10
StatePublished - 2001
EventEC'01: Proceedings of the 3rd ACM Conference on Electronic Commerce - Tampa, FL, United States
Duration: Oct 14 2001Oct 17 2001


OtherEC'01: Proceedings of the 3rd ACM Conference on Electronic Commerce
Country/TerritoryUnited States
CityTampa, FL

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Software
  • Computer Science Applications
  • Computer Networks and Communications


Dive into the research topics of 'E-privacy in 2nd generation E-commerce: Privacy preferences versus actual behavior'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this