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Dimensions of privacy concern among online consumers

As one of the numerous bodies investigating factors affecting consumer privacy online, the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) plays a critical role. We examine these influences, integrating the existing body of research on online privacy with the FTC’s fundamental principles of fair information practice. Our analysis seeks to identify the root causes of privacy concerns in the digital landscape. We evaluate the FTC’s current recommendations and actions based on the results of an email survey conducted with American online consumers regarding their attitudes toward digital privacy. We discover that the FTC’s core principles adequately address a majority of privacy worries expressed by online consumers. However, two elements not directly encompassed within the five principles—namely, the relationships between online users and entities, and the exchange of information for suitable compensation—could potentially impact consumer privacy concerns.

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