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Consumer privacy and the Internet in Europe: a view from Germany

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Despite the widely varying estimates about the strength of the global Internet economy, there is general agreement among experts about the dramatic influence of this medium on consumers as well businesses. However, one area that has generated conflicting views is the issue of Internet privacy. As businesses develop more sophisticated technologies to collect, store and disseminate information on consumers, privacy and security of this information are raising concerns among consumers and public policy advocates. Anecdotal evidence seems to suggest that consumers in some European countries view privacy protection as a very important issue. Investigates consumer attitudes in the Federal Republic of Germany. The findings indicate that consumers in Germany have very strong views about protecting their privacy. They believe that both companies and governments are obligated to protect the information of their consumers and citizens. To this end, German consumers are willing to support stricter legislation. Results also suggest that German consumers' views about Internet use and on-line behaviors, are affected, among other things, by their views regarding privacy in general, their personal expertise in Internet technologies, and how they view the role of the government and the role of companies in protecting consumer privacy.
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Keywords: Consumers; Germany; Internet; Privacy

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: December 1, 2003

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