CFP: Privacy Literacy — How Consumers Understand and Protect Their Privacy

Consumer attention to privacy is seemingly on the rise. We witnessed renewed concern about the tracking of user behavior online, medical privacy as Web-based storage solutions are being proposed, the tracking and selling of television viewing patterns, the merging of vast databases of user activity owned by Google and Doubleclick, and much, much more.

The open question in much of this privacy advocacy is what do consumers actually know about possible threats to their privacy, how much do they care, and how do they act on any concerns that arise?

To help understand and address these questions, the Journal of Consumer Affairs is publishing a special issue on”Privacy Literacy — How Consumers Understand and Protect Their Privacy.” From the CFP:

Consumers increasingly confront a wide array of privacy-related information and are called upon to make decisions impacting their privacy in a growing number of arenas and contexts. Existing research suggests that many consumers do not understand the decisions they are forced to make nor the impact of those decisions. For this special issue of the Journal of Consumer Affairs, manuscripts are being solicited devoted to the effects of privacy literacy on consumer welfare. The goal of this special issue is to extend our theoretical and practical knowledge of how consumers obtain, process, and use information and mechanisms that relate to their privacy. We seek contributions from multiple disciplines including communications, consumer education, economics, finance, law, public policy, psychology and marketing. Authors may submit empirical studies or conceptual work. Papers that are theoretically grounded and also contain significant implications for consumer welfare are especially appropriate.

Topics that would be appropriate for this special issue include, but are not limited to:

  • Consumer understanding of privacy and privacy-related information
  • The interplay between privacy knowledge and consumer behavior
  • Cost assessments for the surrender of personal information
  • Tradeoffs between the surrender of private information and online access
  • Deceptive or covert practices in information exchange
  • Measurement and assessment of privacy literacy
  • Legal and regulatory issues in privacy
  • How consumers respond to solicitations for private information
  • Consumer understanding of privacy certifications, trustmarks, and seals of approval
  • Methods to improve privacy literacy
  • The privacy literacy of vulnerable consumers (e.g., children, low-income, etc.)
  • Relationships between desire-for-privacy, privacy concern, trust, and privacy knowledge
  • Disclosure versus practice regarding privacy-related behaviors
  • Consumer awareness regarding seller use of private information
  • Consumer understanding of medical and financial privacy practices and disclosures

Submission Information
Manuscripts are due by June 1, 2008. Please follow the submission guidelines for The Journal of Consumer Affairs as detailed under “JCA Author Guidelines” on the Blackwell Publishing web site ( Authors wishing to submit a manuscript should send two (2) electronic copies of their manuscript (one with the full title page and one copy cleaned of all information that identifies the authors) to the special issue co-editor

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