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Privacy in India: Attitudes & Awareness. Ponnurangam K & Dr. Lorrie Cranor Computation, Organizations and Society School of Computer Science Carnegie Mellon University 1 st June 2005 Motivations. Business Process Outsourcing in India Security and privacy laws needed

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privacy in india attitudes awareness

Privacy in India: Attitudes & Awareness

Ponnurangam K & Dr. Lorrie Cranor

Computation, Organizations and Society

School of Computer Science

Carnegie Mellon University

1st June 2005

  • Business Process Outsourcing in India
    • Security and privacy laws needed
    • Privacy law currently being drafted
  • Privacy has not been studied in India
  • Recent interest in privacy in India
  • Privacy and new technology (e.g. mobile phones)
  • Studies in the US, Australia and Europe
    • Westin (1978 – 2004)
    • Office of the Federal Privacy Commissioner in Australia
    • Others
  • Written Survey – 407 subjects
    • Sharing of different types of data
    • Internet privacy (e.g. web cookies, browser settings)
  • Interviews – 29 subjects
    • Computerization of the data
    • Information collection and misuse
    • Privacy technologies
  • Website study – 89 websites
    • Google – Shopping directory
    • Web privacy policies
general privacy concern
General Privacy Concern

Source for US: Westin 1992 and 1993 study with Harris Interactive


Sharing of different data types

US Data:

Source: Cranor, Lorrie, et al., "Beyond Concern: Understanding Net Users' Attitudes About Online Privacy." 1999.

some quotes from the interviews
Some quotes from the interviews
  • General
    • “I really don’t have anything to hide”
    • “My friends and relatives know all my financial, medical and personal information”
  • About shop
    • “They don’t know anything other than my physical presence”
  • About government
    • “They would not abuse it”

Web Privacy Policies

  • Google Directory
    • E-commerce websites – 89
    • 29 % had privacy policies
    • No website with Platform for Privacy Preferences (P3P)
  • US commercial websites 86% had privacy policies
  • Policies:
    • Do not have all attributes of privacy policy – Consent, Choice, Notice, etc.
    • Mostly discuss only Security aspect
    • Very few specify about web cookies
    • Very few have opt-in and opt-out options


Privacy Online : A report on information practices and policies of commercial websites, March 2002



  • Identity Theft – physical impersonation
  • Publicly available travel information
    • Age, gender, source station, destination station, seat number, first name, last name, etc.
  • University grades
    • Notice boards
  • Trust factor finding
    • 86 % of people highly trusted the organizations
    • 87% of the people highly trusted the government


  • Unaware about privacy issues and related consequences
  • Trust is the driving factor for their behavior
  • Personal information is available, people are starting to misuse it
  • Some types of data are more sensitive than others
  • Need to create more awareness among public about the issues related to sharing of information
  • Consider the results from such studies while drafting privacy laws

Future Work

  • To conduct a study with representative samples across different states in India
  • To compare our results with other recent studies in the US and other countries
  • Conducting similar studies in the US and in India at the same time
  • To conduct periodic studies to see the trend in the behavior
  • To consider the results obtained in such studies for designing technological solutions

Communication Technology Diffusion as of 2003

Source: ITU - 2003: World Telecommunication development report 2003


India & USA - Internet penetration

Source: for 2003



“The Customers shall not disclose to any other person,

in any manner whatsoever, any information relating to …

or its Affiliates of a confidential nature obtained

in the course of availing the services through the website.

Failure to comply with this obligation shall be deemed a

serious breach of the terms herein and shall entitle … or its

Affiliates to terminate the services, without prejudice to any

damages, to which the customer may be entitled otherwise.“

– Name of the organization removed.