A Case Study in Personal Privacy

James J Cappel, Vishal Shah

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contributionpeer-review


While the Internet is a powerful and positive influence, it also raises ongoing ethical challenges. This paper examines individual perceptions about personal privacy as it relates to a genealogy website that received greater attention after the publication of a 2017 article in the Washington Post. A survey of more than 100 undergraduates revealed that very few respondents were aware of this website, and they overwhelmingly recognized the potential for misuse of the information it provides. While most subjects agreed that this website’s practices are legal, opinion was largely divided about a range of ethical issues that appear to be raised by this site. For example, more than one-half of respondents indicated that they thought this website invades personal privacy, and only about one-third of participants had no problem with this website. This study raises a number of issues about Internet privacy that has potential implications for educators, researchers and lawmakers.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationA Case Study in Personal Privacy
PublisherIssues in Information Systems
StatePublished - Oct 2017


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