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The Effect of Spam and Privacy Concerns on E-mail Users' Behavior



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Journal of Information System Security
Volume 3, Number 1 (2007)
Pages 3962
ISSN 1551-0123
Insu Park — SUNY, USA
R. Sharman — SUNY, USA
H. Raghav Rao — SUNY, USA
S. Upadhyaya — SUNY, USA
Information Institute Publishing, Washington DC, USA




This study aims to examine the effects of both spam and the resulting lack of privacy on users' behavior with respect to e-mail usage. This study reveals that spam e-mail triggers concerns about privacy and in turn, these privacy concerns influence the way users cope with spam or junk mails. Upon receiving spam e-mail, users predominantly exhibit two different behavioral patterns: usage-oriented (passive) and protection-oriented (proactive) behavior. For the purposes of this study, we used data obtained from Pew Internet Research. Logistic regression analysis was performed on the data (N=588) with the intention of examining how spam negatively affects e-mail usage and degrades life on the Internet. Our results show that: (1) e-mail users' spam experiences have a profound relationship with their privacy concerns; (2) privacy concerns help to mediate the relationship between the spam experience users' protective behavior; and (3) when concerned about privacy as the result of spam, e-mail users tend to exhibit both passive and proactive behaviors.




Privacy, Spam E-mail, Defense Mechanism, Usage-Oriented Behavior, Protection-Oriented Behavior, Mediation




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