Communication Privacy Management and the Digital Footprint in Pervasive Computer-Mediated Communication

Prof. (Dr.) John Malala


The use of personal computers and smart phones as means of interpersonal communication has become standard and inescapable in the
twenty first century. In many instances, it is expected that personal or group communication take place through the mediation of a personal
computer or a handheld mobile device that is embedded with a microprocessor (such as a smartphone or a tablet computer). Pervasive computing
is the growing trend towards embedding microprocessors in everyday objects so they can communicate information. The use of these devices to
communicate over networks poses serious privacy concerns due to the fact that various service providers collect data about users in order to
build digital footprints they use in order to present relevant advertising offers based on the person’s identity. This study uses the Communication
Privacy Management theory (CPM) in order to determine the degree to which people disclose private information in order to obtain some
benefits in return. A survey of adults (18 and older) in the United States found that most people are unaware that they leave a digital footprint
behind when they use various services, and that they do not utilize privacy techniques to protect their identity online.

Keywords: Digital footprint, communication privacy management theory, ubiquitous computing, pervasive computing, computer-mediated
communication, internet privacy, cellphone privacy.

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