Differences in Online Privacy & Security Attitudes based on Economic Living Standards: A Global Study of 24 Countries

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Association for Information Systems (AIS) ECIS Proceedings


This work explores online privacy and security attitudes from 24,143 individuals across 24 countries with diverse economic living standards. By using k-mode analysis, we identified three distinct profiles based on similarity in Internet security and privacy attitudes measured by 83 items. By comparing the aggregated dissimilarity measures between each respondent and the centroid values of the three profiles at the country level, we assigned each country to their best-fitting privacy profile. We found significant differences in GDP per capita between profiles 1 (highest GDP) to 3 (lowest). People in profiles with higher GDP per capita have significantly greater privacy concerns in relation to information being monitored or bought and sold. These individuals are also more reluctant towards government surveillance of online communication as well as less likely to agree that governments should work with other public and private entities to develop online security laws. As economic living standards improve, the proportion of individuals increases in profile 1, decreases in profile 2, and most rapidly drops in profile 3. To the best of our knowledge, it is the first research that systematically examines country-level privacy in relation to a national economic variable using GDP per capita.



clustering, GDP per capita, economic living standards, Machine learning, privacy, security