Cultural and generational influences on privacy concerns: a qualitative study in seven European countries
This research examines how European citizens decide to disclose and protect their personal data and thereby reveals cultural and generational divides. Focus group discussions featured either young people, aged 15 to 24 years, or adults, between 25 and 70 years of age, and were conducted in seven EU member states.
The results of a computer-aided text analysis with two complementary software packages suggest similarities and differences in participants’ views and privacy concerns (PC). Responsibility is relevant to personal data management, which represents a hotly contested issue. A geographical north – south divide appears for the importance of responsibility as opposed to trust. Moreover, people regard disclosure differently in the south (as a choice) and east (as forced) of Europe.
Younger people express more positive attitudes toward data management, feel more responsible, and are more confident in their ability to prevent possible data misuse. Their lower PC and greater protective behaviours (i.e., a potential reversed privacy paradox) may help explain contradictory results in prior literature. These results offer significant and useful theoretical, managerial, and policy implications.