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EMAC 2021 Annual Conference

Zooming in on privacy

Published: May 25, 2021


Charlotte Cadieu, Université Lyon 3 Jean Moulin; Julien Cloarec, Université Laval


As up to half of the world population was issued to stay at home in April 2020, the massive digitalization of dominantly offline activities such as consumption, work, school, or personal communications has also raised new issues for privacy and security. Zoom has become a symbol of the stay-at-home era and the challenges posed by the brutal pandemic-induced digitalization of communications. Although the company managed to handle issues related to the sudden surge in bandwidth, its data security and privacy practices resulted in a serious backlash initiated by journalists and tech-savvy users. This paper questions whether Zoom privacy breaches, in a context of strong use and dependence on video chat tools during pandemics, affected the way users evaluate the service. Our results point out that information collection is the more salient dimension of privacy concerns evoked among users. This might be explained by a lower psychological distance with this dimension than with other dimensions. Consumers are more aware, prone to care, and able to defend themselves against a front line threat rather than opaque dissemination or invasions risks.