Big Tech and Online Privacy: How does big tech address privacy regulation and online privacy concern?

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School of Business | Bachelor's thesis
Degree programme
(Mikkeli) Bachelor’s Program in International Business
48 + 4
Objectives The main objectives of this study were to explore the methods used by big tech – Amazon, Apple, Facebook, Google and Microsoft to manage challenges posed by privacy regulation and consumer online privacy concern. The study also aimed to increase the general understanding of how companies manage online privacy concern. Summary This study approached the problem by analyzing public documents pertaining to the management of online privacy concern by the big tech companies. Various kinds of documents were assessed, with qualitative document analysis as methodology, to gain an understanding of the topic. The documents used included, for example, annual reports by the companies, to understand how the companies approach the issue of regulation and the companies’ websites, to explicate how the companies communicate to their users about issues pertaining to online privacy and concern thereof. Conclusions The results of this study indicate that big tech companies view privacy regulation both as a risk to be managed and an opportunity to be taken advantage of. While the companies expect negative effect from prevalent and upcoming regulation, the companies are proactively taking steps to affect future regulation. Most of the companies also utilize easily understandable communication towards their customers on issues pertaining to online privacy, which would be expected to reduce online privacy concern, however, more research on the subject is required in the future.
Thesis advisor
Grinsted, Susan
privacy, Internet, regulation, digital technology, information society, business ethics
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