Posted on Mar 31, 2009

IBR09: Privacy & Permanence

Privacy is both a preference and state, individuals can either have privacy or desire privacy and there are many different approaches to understanding privacy, many of them dealing with the access of information. Though there have been arguments that privacy is more about having the right to prevent the disclosure of personal information.

The Internet poses unique information privacy threats. Once information is recorded online it rarely disappears. It has permanence, and the individual the information belongs to can in many cases have no power to decide what happens to it.

During this research it was assumed that non-bloggers would indicate higher levels of concern with regard to issues of online privacy and the persistent nature of the Internet, in comparison to the bloggers. What was actually found was that both bloggers and non-bloggers have similar levels of concern about online privacy. 48.93% of the total participant sample indicated they were “concerned” and 16.87% indicated that they were “very concerned” about online privacy. However, there was a significant difference found between scores for concern about online permanence. 46.07% of non-bloggers indicated that they were “concerned” and 13.48% were “very concerned”, in comparison 36.48% of bloggers said they were “concerned” and 10.66% said they were “very concerned”.

Results indicate that Irish bloggers are not overly concerned about their published materials remaining online indefinitely, but Irish non-bloggers are, and this was one of the only differences found between the two groups. Concurrently bloggers were also asked how concerned they are with the possible misuse of information on their blogs, with over 38% indicating that they were concerned and 10% saying that they were “very concerned”.

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