Unpacking Privacy: Willingness to pay to protect personal data

Anya Skatova*, Rebecca Mcdonald, Sinong Ma, Carsten Maple

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle (Academic Journal)

Abstract

Data is key for the digital economy, underpinning business models and service provision, and a lot of these valuable datasets are personal in nature. Information about individual behaviour is collected regularly by organisations. This information has value to businesses, the government and third parties. It is not clear what value this personal data has to consumers themselves. Much of the digital economy is predicated on people sharing personal data, however if individuals value their privacy, they may choose to withhold this data unless the perceived benefits of sharing outweigh the perceived value of keeping the data private. Further, they might be willing to pay for an otherwise free service if paying allowed them to avoid sharing personal data. We used five evaluation techniques to study preferences for protecting personal data online and found that consumers assign a positive value to keeping a variety of types of personal data private. We show that participants are prepared to pay different amounts to protect different types of data, suggesting there is no simple function to assign monetary value that can be identified for individual privacy in the digital economy. The majority of participants displayed remarkable consistency in their rankings of the importance of different types of data, a finding that indicates the existence of stable individual privacy preferences in protecting personal data. We discuss our findings in the context of research on the value of privacy and privacy preferences, and in terms of implications for future business models and consumer protection.
Original languageEnglish
JournalPsyArXiv
Publication statusIn preparation - 2019

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