Are they really listening?

Steve McRobb (School of Computing and Centre for Computing and Social Responsibility, De Montfort University, Leicester, UK)
Simon Rogerson (Centre for Computing and Social Responsibility, De Montfort University, Leicester, UK)

Information Technology & People

ISSN: 0959-3845

Publication date: 1 December 2004


Many authors have identified fears about a lack of personal privacy online as a major disincentive to the take‐up of e‐commerce by private consumers. The publication of a privacy policy is encouraged by information and communications technology industry groups such as the Online Privacy Alliance, and by online certification bodies such as TRUSTe. Privacy policies are taken to reassure the wary, and thereby to overcome the disincentive to trade. This paper offers an account of an ongoing research project into the practical measures taken by organisations to publish their online privacy policies. Late in 2000, a total of 113 disparate web sites were identified that included some kind of explicit privacy policy and the visibility and content of the policy was analysed. The primary research into privacy policies is set in context by relating it to a discussion of the nature and role of trustworthiness in online relationships. This highlights a number of issues that need further attention on the part of some of the organisations in the survey.



McRobb, S. and Rogerson, S. (2004), "Are they really listening?", Information Technology & People, Vol. 17 No. 4, pp. 442-461.

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Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2004, Emerald Group Publishing Limited

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