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New instrument measures our acceptance of sensitive information collection

26 January 2018

The collection, storage and use of personal information by businesses has both positive and negative effects for consumers. These effects influence the question of whether consumers do or do not accept that information collection. Frank Beke has developed a measurement instrument that better measures our acceptance of sensitive information collection than if we just looked at consumer confidence in a company or the privacy concerns of clients. Beke will be a awarded a PhD degree on 8 February.

Frank Beke
Frank Beke

While businesses want to know more and more about their clients, the clients are growing more and more uneasy about those same companies watching their every move. At the same time, businesses have difficulty with dealing with the privacy of their clients carefully, as revealed by the uproar over the recent plans by ING to use customer information for commercial purposes, or the cheaper car insurance Achmea is offering in exchange for private data.

Privacy considerations of consumers

In order to better understand the acceptance of information collection by consumers, Beke developed an instrument, the PRICAL index, to investigate the privacy considerations of consumers. He has demonstrated that his instrument is capable of providing better explanations of both the intention behind and the actual acceptance of information collection than existing instruments. Thus his PRICAL index offers the opportunity to better understand why consumers do or do not accept products and services that depend on information collection.

Businesses must take into account that five fundamental elements of their privacy policy (collection, storage, use, transparency, control) influence the choice by consumers whether or not to accept information collection. The influence of the privacy policy on consumer acceptance of information collection differs per industry, concluded Beke. In industries with sensitive customer information, such as medical or financial data, the most important aspects are the collection and use of information. In addition, the influence of each aspect depends on the standards within a particular industry. For example, the sale of personal information has a less negative effect on the acceptance of consumers if consumers believe that most of the businesses within that industry do this.

More information

Frank Beke conducted his research in the Marketing department of the Faculty of Economics and Business. His promotores are prof.dr. Peter Verhoef en prof.dr. Jaap Wieringa. See also this agenda item about the PhD Ceremony: Consumer privacy: understanding the acceptance of consumer information collection.

Last modified:04 February 2019 2.44 p.m.

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