This study aims to understand how commercial utilization of personal data challenges privacy. In addition, this research also seeks to understand perceptions of data privacy amongst online users. The purpose of this study is to unravel user’s perceptions towards their data; interpret if they are willing to trade personal data for benefits on the Internet and understand their awareness level on data security rights. The advent of the Internet and social media has been drastically integrated in all aspects of our lives. However, this has blurred the lines between privacy and sociality. Therefore, this research will throw light on the concerns regarding lack of transparency from companies about personal information disclosure levels. The study fulfilled the objectives by the way of an inductive and mixed-method approach mainly focusing on qualitative research. An online survey was conducted and the findings were analyzed using thematic analysis.
The findings indicated that transferring user’s personal information could affect individual’s opinions about online presence and data privacy. Users had laid-back attitudes while providing consent to service providers yet expressed concerns about their data online. They had surface-level knowledge about how commercial utilization of personal data works but there was lack of awareness about laws and policies to protect security of their data. The study concludes summarizing the key findings and offering recommendations that may provide safer online experience.