Digital privacy and new media: Assessing the impact proposed changes to data protection regulations may have on personal information disclosure in online environments.

Authors: O'Kane, C.

Conference: World Media Economics and Management Conference 2016

Dates: 2-6 May 2016


Advances in technology have facilitated the rapid growth of a global new media industry. Many companies who operate in this sector rely heavily on networked technologies to enable a primary income driver based on behavioural advertising revenues. The operations of some new media firms have attracted criticisms from privacy campaigners who argue that elements of the way some of these firms operate constitute an invasion of user’s privacy.

In the EU, data protection regulation has developed under the core principles of 1) protecting an individuals’ fundamental right to privacy and 2) maintaining the free flow of information as a key enabler of economic growth. Neoclassical economic growth theory identifies technology development as the key element required to deliver sustained increases in standards of living.

Both EU and US regulators believe rapid technological advances have rendered existing regulatory provisions inadequate. In a series of reports, they identify a number of key areas where existing data protection provisions require revision. These include ‘information transparency’, ‘privacy policies’ and functionality that enables individuals to ‘control’ use of their personal data. Regulators have suggested how functionality/features might be employed to improve data protection for individuals. However, there is little or no empirical evidence to demonstrate that the suggested changes are privacy-enhancing. This conceptual paper research outlines a number of online experiments specifically to measure how changes to key areas of data protection (as defined by data regulators) may influence individuals’ personal information disclosure decisions. Any changes to regulations that impact on personal information disclosure will impact on advertising and related revenue streams for new media firms.

Source: Manual