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Publication Detail
Desperately Seeking Assurances: Segmenting Users by their Information-Seeking Preferences::A Q Methodology Study of Users’ Ranking of Privacy, Security & Trust Cues
Abstract
Users of technology services try to evaluate the risks of disclosing personal information in light of the benefits they believe they will receive. However, because of cognitive, time or other constraints, users concentrate on minimizing the uncertainties of disclosure – reducing their level of privacy concern – by using a limited set of information cues. We suggest an individual’s information-seeking behavior is focused on those cues which are important to them. Q methodology was used to determine if users of technology services can be segmented, based on the type of information cues they consider important – many of which are related to technology services’ privacy behavior. The study consisted of 58 participants split into two cohorts, who rank-ordered 40 statements describing the attributes of a technology service. In our study, 69% of participants loaded significantly into only one of five groups: 1) Information Controllers; 2) Security Concerned; 3) Benefits Seekers; 4) Crowd Followers; and 5) Organizational Assurance Seekers. Only 12% of participants did not load significantly into any of the five groups. Our findings assist practitioners in understanding how their privacy behavior (e.g. repurposing information) and privacy-sensitive technology design (e.g. providing feedback and control mechanisms) could encourage or discourage the adoption of technology services by different types of users. We argue the user segmentation identified by this study can inform the construction of more holistic privacy personas
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