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Transforming Government: People, Process and Policy

Emerald Article: Information privacy concerns and e-government: a research agenda Lemuria Carter, Anastasia McBride

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To cite this document: Lemuria Carter, Anastasia McBride, (2010),"Information privacy concerns and e-government: a research agenda", Transforming Government: People, Process and Policy, Vol. 4 Iss: 1 pp. 10 - 13 Permanent link to this document: Downloaded on: 04-04-2012 References: This document contains references to 22 other documents To copy this document: This document has been downloaded 859 times.

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Information privacy concerns and e-government: a research agenda

Lemuria Carter and Anastasia McBride
Department of Accounting, School of Business and Economics, North Carolina Agricultural and Technical State University, Greensboro, North Carolina, USA
Purpose The purpose of this viewpoint is to identify the potential for future research on information privacy and e-government. Design/methodology/approach Using a concise review of major privacy studies, the paper presents an overview of information privacy research in e-government. Using privacy calculus, it proposes seven factors that have an impact on ones concern for information privacy (CFIP) when disclosing information to or completing a transaction with the government. Findings The model posits that seven factors perceived internet privacy risk, collection, error, secondary use, improper access, reputation, and third party certicate have a signicant impact on CFIP. Originality/value This viewpoint provides a timely discussion on information privacy and e-government. It also provides several suggestions for future research in this area. This viewpoint is a call for research on information privacy and e-government. Keywords Information systems, Privacy, Government policy, Data security Paper type Viewpoint

Received 1 August 2009 Revised 2 September 2009 Accepted 7 October 2009

Transforming Government: People, Process and Policy Vol. 4 No. 1, 2010 pp. 10-13 q Emerald Group Publishing Limited 1750-6166 DOI 10.1108/17506161011028777

Introduction Electronic government allows citizens to complete government transactions, such as license renewal and tax ling, online. Many citizens, however, are reluctant to disclose personal information over the internet due to their concern for information privacy (CFIP). A recent study conducted by the PEW Internet and American Life Project revealed that 47 percent of internet users are aware of their digital footprint (Madden et al., 2007). Clarke (1999) posits that individuals are interested in having an appreciable inuence on the handling of data about themselves. This desire highlights the importance of understanding the publics CFIP. Information privacy refers to an individuals ability to control information about himself (Stone et al., 1983). The electronic environment introduces new challenges to maintaining information privacy. More than 158 million data records of US residents have been exposed due to security breaches since 2005 (Scheier, 2007). In 2007, Cyveillance identied more than 2.5 million stolen credit card numbers online in a 12-month period (Scheier, 2007). A Gartner survey also showed that more than 15 million US citizens were victims of identity theft during that same year. In light of the inherent risks of transmitting sensitive information electronically, many citizens want assurance that their personal information will not be made available to other individuals and organizations without their consent (Skinner et al., 2006). Much of the existing research on concern for information privacy (CFIP) focuses on citizens behavioral intentions. Most studies use CFIP to explain ones willingness to

disclose personal information (Dinev and Hart, 2005, 2006; van Slyke et al., 2006; Hui et al., 2006; Hoffman et al., 1999) or intention to transact online (Brown and Muchira, 2004; Eastlick et al., 2006; Pavlou et al., 2007; Resnick and Montania, 2003). CFIP consists of four components collection, unauthorized access, errors, and secondary use (Smith et al., 1996). Several studies have expanded the CFIP model by adding antecedents such as computer anxiety (Stewart and Segars, 2002), internet literacy and social awareness (Dinev and Hart, 2005). Many CFIP studies focus on individual privacy and e-commerce use. Dinev and Hart (2005, 2006), van Slyke et al. (2006), Hui et al. (2006), Stewart and Segars (2002), Brown and Muchira (2004), Kim et al. (2008), and Belanger et al. (2002). Few studies have examined concern for privacy as it relates to e-government services (Dinev and Hart, 2006). This study determines the factors that affect citizens CFIP when transacting in government services online (e-government). We posit that the privacy calculus could be used to enhance the e-government CFIP literature. The calculus could be used to illustrate the impact of seven prominent privacy factors perceived internet privacy risk, collection, error, secondary use, improper access, reputation and third party certicate on ones CFIP when completing e-government transactions. The e-government privacy calculus Laufer and Wolfe (1977) posit that the privacy calculus refers to a decision-making process whereby citizens weigh the anticipated benets and consequences before disclosing personal information. Culnan and Armstrong (1999) suggest that citizens are more likely to disclose personal information once they have been informed of the agencys privacy practices. Dinev and Hart (2006) extend the Culnan and Armstrong (1999) model to account for internet transactions. Our model incorporates perceived internet privacy risk (Dinev and Hart, 2006) into the privacy calculus. As aforementioned, our proposed calculus accounts for the impact of perceived internet privacy risk, collection, error, secondary use, improper access, reputation, and third party certicate on ones CFIP in an e-government environment: (1) Perceived internet privacy risk refers to the uncertainty associated with electronic transactions, particularly the loss that could result from an agency behaving opportunistically (Dinev and Hart, 2006; Kim et al., 2008). Perceived internet privacy risk is negatively related to a citizens CFIP. (2) Collection refers to the personal information that is obtained in order to complete electronic exchanges (Smith et al., 1996; van Slyke et al., 2006). Collection concerns stem from ones doubts about the ability of the collecting agency to obtain and store sensitive information securely. When conducting transactions over the internet it is necessary for agencies to collect data from citizens, therefore collection is integral to the success of e-services. Collection of citizens personal data is negatively related to CFIP. (3) Potential errors are also a major cause of apprehension for many citizens. This trepidation is related to an individuals concern that her personal information is protected from accidental or intentional errors (van Slyke et al., 2006). Many citizens believe that organizations are not employing enough safeguards to protect their personal information.

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(4) Unauthorized secondary use concerns are an individuals concerns about whether data collected for one purpose may be used for another purpose (van Slyke et al., 2006). Smith et al. (1996) posit that unauthorized secondary use is composed of two dimensions: internal (disclosure within the organization) and external (disclosure to another organization). Unauthorized secondary use of citizens personal information is negatively related to citizens CFIP. (5) According to Smith et al. (1996) and Solove (2006) improper access occurs when information is available to people not authorized to access that information. Citizens are reluctant to disclose information online to organizations because they believe that organizations may not be spending enough time preventing unauthorized access of their personal information. Improper access of citizens personal information is negatively related to citizens CFIP. (6) Reputation of a web site is a key factor in decreasing risk and developing trust (Kim et al., 2008). Citizens tend to trust organizations more if they have an established reputation. Reputation is dened as the overall perception of an entity based on ones experience with, knowledge of, and beliefs about the entity (Nam et al., 2006). (7) The presence of a third party certicate may also help to reduce CFIP. In the USA, this would include seals provided by the Council of Better Business Bureaus Inc., TRUSTe, and the Online Privacy Alliance (Nam et al., 2006). Citizens feel that their risk is minimized when they know that a company has the seal of a highly regarded, third party organization (Kim et al., 2006). Conclusion In conclusion, future research on privacy and e-government should incorporate elements of the privacy calculus. In particular, the aforementioned seven factors should be explored in the context of e-government. Future studies should help researchers gain a better understanding of how individuals develop privacy concerns and what consequences those concerns have on their interactions with others. There is also more research needed on how agencies can properly handle privacy-related complaints and restore citizen trust after a breach. Finally, future research should measure actual disclosure (transactions) rather than willingness to disclose (transact).
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