The increasing difficulty in managing one’s online personal data leads to individuals feeling a loss of control. Additionally, repeated consumer data breaches have given people a sense of futility, ultimately making them weary of having to think about online privacy. This phenomenon is called “privacy fatigue.” Although privacy fatigue is prevalent and has been discussed by scholars, there is little empirical research on the phenomenon. A new study published in the journal Computers and Human Behavior aimed not only to conceptualize privacy fatigue but also to examine its role in online privacy behavior. Based on literature on burnout, we developed measurement items for privacy fatigue, which has two key dimensions —emotional exhaustion and cynicism. Data analyzed from a survey of 324 Internet users showed that privacy fatigue has a stronger impact on privacy behavior than privacy concerns do, although the latter is widely regarded as the dominant factor in explaining online privacy behavior.Emphasis added by me. That is by Hanbyl Choi, Jonghwa Park, and Yoonhyuk Jung, via Michelle Dawson.
The past weeks have indicated that we really do need some regulations. It’s not just Facebook, but major, unpunished leaks from data brokers like Experian (which seemingly actually profited from it’s data leak) or even those of companies like Target. Many have been analogizing data as the “new oil”, but people shouldn’t be treated like dying sea birds trapped in oil slicks.
I’m bookmarking this journal article to read: The role of privacy fatigue in online privacy behavior. 1