How Much do Digital Natives Disclose on the Internet-A Privacy Study

Erik Buchmann, Klemens Böhm
With the advent of social services on the Internet that encourage the disclosure of more and more personal information , it has become increasingly difficult to find out where and for which purpose personal data is collected and stored. The potential for misuse of such data will increase as well, e.g., due to the ongoing extension of social sites with new features that make it more appealing to reveal personal details. In order to research and develop approaches that give way to privacy on the
more » ... nternet, it is important to know which kind of information can be found, who has been responsible for publishing it, the age of the information, etc. This paper describes a user study about the personal information available about Digital Natives, i.e., young people who have grown up with the Internet. In particular, we have guided 65 undergraduate students to search the web for personal information on themselves by using various search engines. Our students have completed 302 questionnaire sheets altogether. We have analyzed the questionnaires by means of statistical significance tests and cluster analysis. As a part of our results, we have found out that today's personal search engines like do not find much more information than general-purpose search engines like google, and that today's Digital Natives are surprisingly aware of the information they are willing to disclose.