The Quality of Online Privacy Policies: A Resource-Dependency Perspective

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Privacy concerns and practices, especially those dealing with the acquisition and use of consumer personal information by corporations, are at the fore front of business and social issues associated with the information age. This research examines the privacy policies of large US companies to assess the substance and quality of their stated information practices. Six factors are identified that indicate the extent to which a firm is dependent upon consumer personal information, and therefore more likely to develop high quality privacy statements. The study findings provide practical and theoretical implications for information privacy issues, particularly for consumers who need to determine whether or not to disclose their personal formation to firms. The results illustrate the complexity involved in managing personal private identifying information.