Internet Privacy and Institutional Trust: Insights From a National Survey
Business Law, Public Responsibility, and Ethics
Communication Technology and New Media
Science and Technology Policy
What does the US public believe about the credibility of institutional actors when it comes to protecting information privacy online? Drawing on perspectives of environmental risk, this article addresses the question through a nationally representative telephone survey of 1200 adults who go online at home. A key result is that a substantial percentage of internet users believes that major corporate or government institutions will both help them to protect information privacy and take that privacy away by disclosing information to other parties without permission. This finding and others raise questions about the dynamics of risk-perception and institutional trust on the web.