Would You Sacrifice Your Privacy to Protect Public Health? Prosocial Responsibility in a Pandemic Paves the Way for Digital Surveillance (Brief Research Report)

Kamleitner, Bernadette ORCID: https://orcid.org/0000-0002-7162-7287 and Kokkoris, Michail ORCID: https://orcid.org/0000-0002-8716-0706 (2020) Would You Sacrifice Your Privacy to Protect Public Health? Prosocial Responsibility in a Pandemic Paves the Way for Digital Surveillance (Brief Research Report). Frontiers Media S.A., Schweiz.

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Abstract

Digital surveillance methods, such as location tracking apps on smartphones, have been implemented in many countries during the COVID-19 pandemic, but not much is known about predictors of their acceptance. Could it be that prosocial responsibility, to which authorities appealed in order to enhance compliance with quarantine measures, also increases acceptance of digital surveillance and restrictions of privacy? In their fight against the COVID-19 pandemic, governments around the world communicated that self-isolation and social distancing measures are every citizen’s duty in order to protect the health not only of oneself but also of vulnerable others. We suggest that prosocial responsibility besides motivating people to comply with anti-pandemic measures also undermines people’s valuation of privacy. In an online research conducted with US participants, we examined correlates of people’s willingness to sacrifice individual rights and succumb to surveillance with a particular focus on prosocial responsibility. First, replicating prior research, we found that perceived prosocial responsibility was a powerful predictor of compliance with self-isolation and social distancing measures. Second, going beyond prior research, we found that perceived prosocial responsibility also predicted willingness to accept restrictions of individual rights and privacy, as well as to accept digital surveillance for the sake of public health. While we identify a range of additional predictors, the effects of prosocial responsibility hold after controlling for alternative processes, such as perceived self-risk, impact of the pandemic on oneself, or personal value of freedom. These findings suggest that prosocial responsibility may act as a Trojan horse for privacy compromises.

Item Type: Other
Keywords: responsibility, prosocial behavior, digital surveillance, privacy, civil rights, freedom, location tracking, COVID-19 pandemic
Divisions: Departments > Marketing > Marketing und KonsumentInnenforschung
Kompetenzzentren > Experimentalforschung
Kompetenzzentren > Sustainability Transf. & Responsibility
Version of the Document: Published
Depositing User: Helga Karl
Date Deposited: 18 Sep 2020 15:23
Last Modified: 18 Sep 2020 15:23
Related URLs:
FIDES Link: https://bach.wu.ac.at/d/research/results/96400/
URI: https://epub.wu.ac.at/id/eprint/7725

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