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e-Privacy Research: a New Disciplinary Borderland.
Unformatted Document Text:  * 2 e-Privacy Research: a Disciplinary Borderland. Analizing existing European privacy legislation and constructing and using a quantitative online research instrument to evaluate dataprocessing and privacy statements in business-to-consumer websites. Abstract The use of different forms of marketing communications on the internet is definitely on the rise. During those interactive communication processes, personal data are often collected not only in an explicit manner (f.e. using electronic forms), but in an implicit manner as well (f.e. using cookies and clickstream analysis for webmining). The collection and use of data of internet users for marketing purposes raises questions concerning the protection of the consumers’ online privacy. To protect the informational privacy (i.e. dataprotection) and the relational privacy (i.e. in this domain the right not to be contacted by companies for marketing purposes) legislative initiatives have been taken in the European Union. From an analysis of 250 Belgian websites it results that the majority, collecting personal data, score largely unsatisfactorily concerning the information towards the consumer, as imposed by the European dataprotection directive transposed in the Belgian privacy law. This first analysis of websites in march 2001 (before the new privacy law came into effect on september 1st) and a second analysis, one year later, in april 2002 forms part of series researches about e-privacy, the protection of internet users' privacy. This research shows also the necessity to build bridges between the study of law and selfregulation (in the EU a.o. the European Dataprotection Directive transposed in the national privacylaws), ICT studies (to analyse privacy invasive and privacy enhancing technologies) and communication science, to develop an online research instrument to ‘scan’ the websites concerning the use of software to analyse the clickstream of visitors, to check the ways in which data are processed and how website visitors are informed about their privacy rights. Finally, our methodology consisted also in sending a mystery e-mail to the webmasters of the selected websites to check their knowledge about their own online privacy pledge.

Authors: Walrave, Michel.
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2
e-Privacy Research: a Disciplinary Borderland.

Analizing existing European privacy legislation and constructing and using a
quantitative online research instrument to evaluate dataprocessing and privacy
statements in business-to-consumer websites.
Abstract
The use of different forms of marketing communications on the internet is
definitely on the rise. During those interactive communication processes,
personal data are often collected not only in an explicit manner (f.e. using
electronic forms), but in an implicit manner as well (f.e. using cookies and
clickstream analysis for webmining). The collection and use of data of internet
users for marketing purposes raises questions concerning the protection of the
consumers’ online privacy. To protect the informational privacy (i.e.
dataprotection) and the relational privacy (i.e. in this domain the right not to be
contacted by companies for marketing purposes) legislative initiatives have been
taken in the European Union. From an analysis of 250 Belgian websites it results
that the majority, collecting personal data, score largely unsatisfactorily
concerning the information towards the consumer, as imposed by the European
dataprotection directive transposed in the Belgian privacy law. This first analysis
of websites in march 2001 (before the new privacy law came into effect on
september 1st) and a second analysis, one year later, in april 2002 forms part of
series researches about e-privacy, the protection of internet users' privacy.
This research shows also the necessity to build bridges between the study of law
and selfregulation (in the EU a.o. the European Dataprotection Directive
transposed in the national privacylaws), ICT studies (to analyse privacy invasive
and privacy enhancing technologies) and communication science, to develop an
online research instrument to ‘scan’ the websites concerning the use of software
to analyse the clickstream of visitors, to check the ways in which data are
processed and how website visitors are informed about their privacy rights.
Finally, our methodology consisted also in sending a mystery e-mail to the
webmasters of the selected websites to check their knowledge about their own
online privacy pledge.


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