User perceptions of software with embedded spyware.

Purpose – The purpose of this paper is to provide a research model and hypotheses that explore software users’ perceptions of privacy, trust, and US legal protection in using application software with embedded spyware. Design/methodology/approach – An experimental study was undertaken requiring subjects to use an online analytical processing software product. After use, the experimental group was told spyware was embedded in the software. Questionnaire responses for the experimental and control group were compared using independent samples t-test. Multiple regression was used to determine significant predictors of overall trust in the software vendor. Findings – Users of software with spyware, versus users of software without spyware, have lower trust perceptions of a software vendor. Further examination of trustworthiness as a multi-dimensional construct, reveals trustworthiness-ability and trustworthiness-integrity are important influences of overall trust of a vendor. Research limitations/implications – The main limitation of the findings is the use of a convenience sample, limiting the generalizability of the results. Practical implications – The results may provide guidance to software vendors and government regulatory agencies in addressing the concerns associated with spyware. Originality/value – Software vendors should rethink the practice of embedding spyware in software applications, unless user trust can be maintained.

Main Author: Sipior, Janice C.
Other Authors: Ward, Burke T.
Format: Villanova Faculty Authorship
Language: English
Published: 2008
Online Access: