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EMAC 2022 Annual

AI in Public: The Effects of Technology Bias, Fears of Public Surveillance, and Moral Tradeoffs on Privacy Concerns

Published: May 24, 2022


Matilda Dorotic, BI Norwegian Business School; Emanuela Stagno, University of Sussex


Applications of AI in public surveillance contexts fuel polemics among consumers and public policy makers alike. In two experimental studies, we explore the mechanisms that affect citizens’ attitudes towards government surveillance technologies. In Study 1, we show that the privacy and surveillance concerns are reduced when government (vs. firm) owns the data. Moreover, the fear of technology biases moderates the relationship between privacy concerns and willingness to adopt. In Study 2, we analyze the potential of anonymization of data collection to remedy the perceived privacy concerns. We find that the effect of anonymization of data collection on the willingness to support government surveillance technology goes through two parallel antecedents of privacy concerns: a reduction in perceived government intrusiveness and an increase in the perceived fairness and justice. Reduced privacy concerns ultimately increase the perceived usefulness of technological solution and increase the willingness to adopt.