Social Networks and the Protection of Personal Information. When Privacy Is Not Perceived As a Right

ZIE54DAMassimo Ragnedda, Social Networks and the Protection of Personal Information. When Privacy Is Not Perceived As a Right, Monograph, Privacy and new Technologies, International Federation for Information Processing, 2013

Abstract. On Social Networking Sites (SNS), users freely and without anxiety give sensitive and private data about which they might previously have jealously guarded. The research that I conducted at the University of Sassari (n = 1047), suggests that students have a different approach to the protection of Personal Information: lascivious online and protectionist offline. Students seem to underestimate the risk of posting data because they are unaware of the phenomenon of dataveillance. In fact, 86% said that the main visitors of their personal profile are friends, so they do not worry about data because they have nothing to hide from friends. This makes the perception of SNS more familiar and intimate and lowers social and cultural defenses against the possible intrusion of strangers in their digital world. Only 29.4% said that they often or always heed the privacy policy before registering for a site, and 54% never or rarely read the privacy policy. The role of marketing agencies that scan, match and connect data of individual users with the goal of building an accurate e-profile profile of individual users, seems not be perceived by the students. In fact only 3% imagine that those who visit personal profiles are strangers.

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