Jordan Santell immersive engineer

How privacy flaws affect consumer perception

Originally published via IEEE at 2013 Third Workshop on Socio-Technical Aspects in Security and Trust (STAST). (PDF)


We examine how consumers perceive publicized instances of privacy flaws and private information data breaches. Using three real-world privacy breach incidents, we study how these flaws affected consumers' future purchasing behavior and perspective on a company's trustworthiness. We investigate whether despite a lack of widespread privacy enhancing technology usage, consumers are taking some basic security precautions when making purchasing decisions. We survey 600 participants on three well-known privacy breaches. Our results show that, in general, consumers are less likely to purchase products that had experienced some form of privacy breach. We find evidence of a slight bias toward giving products the consumers owned themselves more leeway, as suggested by the endowment effect hypothesis.


S. Afroz, A. C. Islam, J. Santell, A. Chapin and R. Greenstadt, "How Privacy Flaws Affect Consumer Perception," 2013 Third Workshop on Socio-Technical Aspects in Security and Trust, New Orleans, LA, 2013, pp. 10-17.

doi: 10.1109/STAST.2013.13