The Role of Institutional Trust in Estonians’ Privacy Concerns

Maris Männiste, Anu Masso


In this study, we attempted to contribute to previous discussions of the importance of emerging novel data sources in shaping new forms of inequalities and trust culture related to perceived privacy concerns. Our study was based on a representative survey data collected in Estonia in 2014 (n=1503). Two underlying dimensions of privacy were revealed in the analysis: (1) perceived dangers to personal privacy and, (2) perceived dangers to institutional privacy. The analysis of associations only partially confirms the assumption of structural differences in privacy concerns, social groups being somewhat more divided regarding their concerns about institutional rather than personal privacy. Groups more concerned about regarding privacy issues had more frequent social media use as well as higher social activity. The analysis also showed that trust in institutions was related to privacy concerns of different groups and may be one of the key variables explaining the adoption of new technology in Estonia. Thus, besides new structural inequalities related to data practices online, new forms of data activisms are about to emerge, based on perceptions of personal and institutional privacy.


Privacy concerns; individual privacy; institutional privacy; trust in institutions; data inequalities

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