Research has led to the establishment of the fact that consumers are generally concerned for their privacy in two areas (Gralla 2002). The first element of privacy is the degree of authority that external parties have to access their data. In this regard, consumers give the utmost relevance to internal control elements that can keep external parties out of the perimeters of their information. The second area where consumers are concerned about their privacy takes origin when consumers choose to engage in the actual act of transaction (Etzioni 1999). When they do so, they choose to willingly provide the online merchants with personal information. Once they have provided the information and it is no longer within the perimeters of the internal control elements that constituted the user’s primary concerns of privacy, the threat posed to the consumer is perceived to be the possibility of the unauthorized reusage, unauthorized distribution or mishandling of that information.
The paradox in this scenario is observed to be present at the point where consumers are willing to provide online merchants with the information they require and are anxious about the unauthorized reusage, unauthorized distribution or mishandling of the information (Dhillon and Moores 2001). The existence of this paradox is considered by researchers to be a gap between the consumers’ preferences and the consumers’ actions. Also, it is speculated that there are chances that this gap between actions and preferences has the potential to evolve in a manner such that it increases as well as in a manner such that it decreases with time.
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