Perception of citizens towards privacy loss in Smart Nation Singapore
Lim, Han Boon
Date of Issue2016
Wee Kim Wee School of Communication and Information
Technology has developed to a point where everyday personal object and ubiquitous “things” can gain increased value when connected to the Internet, and Singapore has begun exploiting such advancement to build a vision of an evolved nation – a Smart Nation. The narratives of this initiative suggest a country connected from home to port, accessible from personal devices such as smartwatches and mobile phones, with analysis done on every bit of data generated by each and every citizen just going about their daily task. As a result, higher efficiency in transportation and public services, amongst others, can be expected. Unfortunately, a Smart Nation cannot function without collecting personal data in movement and being for its analysis and therefore exposes its citizens to the danger of latent and pervasive privacy invasion, making privacy protection improbable, if not impossible. No prior research, however, has been conducted to investigate privacy concerns, specifically from the citizen's perspective, with relation to Smart Nation. This study investigates Singapore citizen's perception towards this potential loss of privacy and what the existing factors that influence the successful adoption of Smart Nation are. A hypothesized model is proposed to investigate the relationships between privacy concerns, perceived privacy risk, perceived benefits, privacy awareness, privacy control, community identity, trust in government and perceived government intrusion, using the calculus perspective of information privacy theory as the basic framework. The model is tested via a survey of 519 Singaporean citizens and analyzed using linear and multiple regression. The results show that, although citizens are largely concerned over their loss of privacy fueled by perceived government intrusion and other perceived risks, their trust of the government's ability to execute this vision and safeguard their data is the key factor for their support in building a Smart Nation. Further, while community identity is positively related to perceived benefit, these benefits do not have an impact in addressing privacy concern of citizens in Smart Nation. Similarly, though privacy awareness has a positive and significant impact on privacy control it did not provide an impact to privacy concern. As one of the first investigation into Smart Nation, this study provides an initial glimpse into the factors affecting successful deploying the platform from a citizen’s perspective. The result also suggests that leveraging on trust in government is effective in counterbalancing the privacy concerns to provide necessary support from the citizens towards building up Smart Nation.