"Whether it's moral is a whole other story": Consumer perspectives on privacy regulations and corporate data practices


Leah Zhang-Kennedy, University of Waterloo; Sonia Chiasson, Carleton University


Privacy laws govern the collection, use, and disclosure of personal information by businesses. Through an online survey with 300 participants and a follow-up interview with 32 participants, we investigate Canadians' awareness of their privacy rights and how businesses manage their personal information. Further, we explore how Canadians respond to hypothetical privacy violations using ten scenarios adapted from real cases. Our participants are generally aware of having privacy rights but have insufficient knowledge and resources to exercise those rights properly. Participants did not necessarily equate compliance with the law as sufficient for ethical conduct. Through our analysis, we identified a "moral code" that consumers rely on to assess privacy violations based on the core moral values of trust, transparency, control, and access.

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