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e-Privacy Research: a New Disciplinary Borderland.
Unformatted Document Text:  * 3 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. 1. Introduction Marketing communication on the internet is not only possible by using banners and internet commercials(i.e. intermercials), but also personally and in an interactive manner by e-mail, chat and by other applications of the internet technology. When a company communicates online with a consumer, personal data are very often collected. In this case we enter the delicate domain of individuals’ privacy. When we are talking about privacy, we make a distinction between informational and relational privacy. The relational privacy of a person, in the context of direct marketing in general and of e-commerce in particular, is the degree of disponibility of the consumer to be reachable by organisations. In other words, the answer to the questions if, when and how the consumer wants to communicate directly with an organisation. This liberty to decide with which organisations a consumer is willing to keep up contacts and by which media, can be respected by inter alia the Robinson lists, ethical codes, specific legislation and newly designed technology. Respect for the relational privacy means that the consumer is given the chance to protect him- or herself from certain expressions of direct marketing communication, but also to inform a business which types of communication are welcome. This forms also a key aspect of the debate concerning opt-in (giving explicit permission to use data for direct marketing purposes using e-mail for example) versus opt-out (the right to oppose against the use of one’s e-mailaddress, for example, for direct marketing). Informational privacy concerns the possibility of a person to control his or her personal data. In other words, the consumer receives the possibility to take an informed decision when an organisation asks him or her to communicate personal data. This supposes transparency in the purposes of the gathering, processing and commercialising of consumers' information. This transparency, being one of the cornerstones of the dataprotection legislation, must be translated in specific and complete information at the moment of collecting personal data among the consumers, not only for example in reply coupons and forms, but also during conversations with call center agents and when filling in an electronic forms on a website. This information and promise to use personal data respectfully and lawfully, is formulated in a privacy statement which has to be a part of a website for example. But even a privacy promise is debt. It would be better that this is not a façade, but a concrete expression of the mentality in the organisation, which is in touch with the respect for the personal data of prospects and clients (conf. Westin: 1991; Walrave: 1999). In the European Union, this privacy promise has to rest on an existing legislation which imposes a number of obligations to persons and organisations processing data about individuals. In Belgium the protection of the informational privacy is regulated by the law that converts the directive 95/46/EC of 24 October 1995 of the European Parliament and the Council concerning the protection of natural persons in relation with the processing of personal data and concerning free movement of those data (law of 11 December 1998, published on 3 February

Authors: Walrave, Michel.
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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.
1. Introduction
Marketing communication on the internet is not only possible by using banners
and internet commercials(i.e. intermercials), but also personally and in an
interactive manner by e-mail, chat and by other applications of the internet
technology. When a company communicates online with a consumer, personal
data are very often collected. In this case we enter the delicate domain of
individuals’ privacy. When we are talking about privacy, we make a distinction
between informational and relational privacy.
The relational privacy of a person, in the context of direct marketing in general
and of e-commerce in particular, is the degree of disponibility of the consumer to
be reachable by organisations. In other words, the answer to the questions if,
when and how the consumer wants to communicate directly with an
organisation. This liberty to decide with which organisations a consumer is willing
to keep up contacts and by which media, can be respected by inter alia the
Robinson lists, ethical codes, specific legislation and newly designed technology.
Respect for the relational privacy means that the consumer is given the chance
to protect him- or herself from certain expressions of direct marketing
communication, but also to inform a business which types of communication are
welcome. This forms also a key aspect of the debate concerning opt-in (giving
explicit permission to use data for direct marketing purposes using e-mail for
example) versus opt-out (the right to oppose against the use of one’s e-
mailaddress, for example, for direct marketing).
Informational privacy concerns the possibility of a person to control his or her
personal data. In other words, the consumer receives the possibility to take an
informed decision when an organisation asks him or her to communicate
personal data. This supposes transparency in the purposes of the gathering,
processing and commercialising of consumers' information. This transparency,
being one of the cornerstones of the dataprotection legislation, must be
translated in specific and complete information at the moment of collecting
personal data among the consumers, not only for example in reply coupons and
forms, but also during conversations with call center agents and when filling in
an electronic forms on a website. This information and promise to use personal
data respectfully and lawfully, is formulated in a privacy statement which has to
be a part of a website for example. But even a privacy promise is debt. It would
be better that this is not a façade, but a concrete expression of the mentality in
the organisation, which is in touch with the respect for the personal data of
prospects and clients (conf. Westin: 1991; Walrave: 1999).
In the European Union, this privacy promise has to rest on an existing legislation
which imposes a number of obligations to persons and organisations processing
data about individuals. In Belgium the protection of the informational privacy is
regulated by the law that converts the directive 95/46/EC of 24 October 1995 of
the European Parliament and the Council concerning the protection of natural
persons in relation with the processing of personal data and concerning free
movement of those data (law of 11 December 1998, published on 3 February


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