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EMAC 2019 Annual Conference

How do firms ask for consumers’ data permission? And how do customers react?

Published: May 28, 2019


Caterina D'Assergio, University of Bologna; Sara Valentini, University of Bologna; Elisa Montaguti , University of Bologna


Re-permission emails; propensity to disclose personal details; Latent Dirichlet Allocation


To regulate the growing potential violation of people’s right to protect their privacy, the EU has recently introduced a new data protection regulation that offers EU citizens a shelter for their personal information by requesting companies to clearly explain how people’s information is used and to get their express permission to used it. The key question for firms is how such information should be requested in order to minimize the risk of reducing or preventing access to customer data. This is the paper’s focus. By examining, through LDA, 367 re-permission emails sent by firms serving EU customers before the introduction of the GDPR regulation, we are able to develop a taxonomy of the main themes used to pose these requests and identify which topics are more effective at increasing people’s likelihood to provide access to their personal details. We find that the framing of the request and the presences of monetary incentives increase consumer’s propensity to express permission.