Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Why do consumers disclose sensitive information to shady-looking websites?

Date:
August 26, 2010
Source:
University of Chicago Press Journals
Summary:
Many consumers need help recognizing when their privacy is compromised, according to a new study.

Many consumers need help recognizing when their privacy is compromised, according to a new study in the Journal of Consumer Research.

"How can we make sense of the contradictory attitudes that individuals display toward privacy -- from the seemingly reckless willingness of some to post personal and even incriminating information on social network sites, to the concern people express over the range of information being collected about them and the way it's being used?" write authors Leslie K. John, Alessandro Acquisti, and George Loewenstein (all Carnegie Mellon University).

The researchers found that cues give rise to different levels of disclosure across situations. For example, in their first experiment, visitors to the New York Times website were asked either directly or indirectly whether they had cheated on their taxes. Twenty-one percent admitted to cheating when they were asked indirectly, versus 12.9 percent who were asked directly.

In subsequent experiments, participants were asked whether they had engaged in a series of different behaviors. Some participants answered a survey on a website that was intentionally made to look unprofessional, with a header that asked "How BAD Are U???" in a red font next to a cartoon devil logo. Others answered the same survey on a website that billed it as "Carnegie Mellon University Executive Council Survey on Ethical Behaviors" next to the university crest. "People were more willing to divulge sensitive information when the survey was administered on an unprofessional-looking website," the authors write.

The authors found that they could cue participants to become more aware of privacy issues. People who completed a photo-identification task that asked them to identify phishing emails (designed to lure recipients into revealing information such as passwords) were less likely to disclose sensitive information in the next experiment.

"People seem naturally comfortable disclosing personal information on unprofessional websites -- which are arguably more likely to misuse it," the authors write. "The present research raises issues about people's ability to navigate these complexities in a self-interested fashion."


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by University of Chicago Press Journals. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. Leslie K. John, Alessandro Acquisti, and George Loewenstein. Strangers on a Plane: Context-dependent Willingness to Divulge Sensitive Information. Journal of Consumer Research, February 2011

Cite This Page:

University of Chicago Press Journals. "Why do consumers disclose sensitive information to shady-looking websites?." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 26 August 2010. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/08/100824103635.htm>.
University of Chicago Press Journals. (2010, August 26). Why do consumers disclose sensitive information to shady-looking websites?. ScienceDaily. Retrieved April 23, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/08/100824103635.htm
University of Chicago Press Journals. "Why do consumers disclose sensitive information to shady-looking websites?." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/08/100824103635.htm (accessed April 23, 2014).

Share This



More Science & Society News

Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Air Force: $4.2B Saved from Grounding A-10s

Air Force: $4.2B Saved from Grounding A-10s

AP (Apr. 23, 2014) Speaking about the future of the United States Air Force, Chief of Staff Gen. Mark Welsh says the choice to divest the A-10 fleet was logical and least impactful. (April 23) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Nuclear-Level Asteroids Might Be More Common Than We Realize

Nuclear-Level Asteroids Might Be More Common Than We Realize

Newsy (Apr. 23, 2014) The B612 Foundation says asteroids strike Earth much more often than previously thought, and are hoping to build an early warning system. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
High Court to Hear Dispute of TV Over Internet

High Court to Hear Dispute of TV Over Internet

AP (Apr. 22, 2014) The future of Aereo, an online service that provides over-the-air TV channels, hinges on a battle with broadcasters that goes before the U.S. Supreme Court on Tuesday. (April 22) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Is North Korea Planning Nuclear Test #4?

Is North Korea Planning Nuclear Test #4?

Newsy (Apr. 22, 2014) South Korean officials say North Korea is preparing to conduct another nuclear test, but is Pyongyang just bluffing this time? Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:
from the past week

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins