Privacy and Security
Questions about privacy are central to the digital economy. We study how much people value privacy, the privacy paradox, and developments in state and federal privacy legislation. Our work has contributed to policy discussions of data portability, data regulation, and advertising models.
Economic analysis shows that the benefits of online information collection, such as ad-supported applications and content, greatly outweigh any costs or risks, state Paul Rubin and Michael Hammock in “Applications Want to be Free: Privacy Against Information,” released today by the Technology Policy Institute. Current arguments for increased privacy regulation are not based on economic theory or evidence and instead rely on anecdotes or a perceived inherent “right” to privacy online. As a result, policymakers should be leery of making radical changes to the current privacy regime without carefully considering the economic consequences.
Online video is now available on the C-SPAN website of last Friday’s event “Online Privacy after the DOC and FTC Reports,” hosted by the Technology Policy Institute. The event featured opening remarks by Congressman Cliff Stearns, Chairman of the Oversight and Investigations Subcommittee of the House Energy and Commerce Committee. In his remarks, Stearns outlined the goals and key provisions of the draft privacy legislation he is planning to introduce soon.
Congressman Cliff Stearns will offer remarks at this Friday’s event “Online Privacy after the DOC and FTC Reports,” hosted by the Technology Policy Institute. Rep. Stearns, Chairman of the Oversight and Investigations Subcommittee of the House Energy and Commerce Committee, is expected to soon introduce privacy legislation, building upon a previous draft developed in the last Congress.
Comments filed with the Federal Trade Commission on “Protecting Consumer Privacy in an Era of Rapid Change: A Proposed Framework for Businesses and Policymakers.”
The Federal Trade Commission has issued a preliminary staff report proposing a new privacy framework for businesses and policymakers.1 The new framework includes provisions intended to better inform consumers about how their information is being used, provide consumers with easier-to-understand choices including a �Do Not Track� option, and restrict how businesses collect, retain and use data.
The Federal Trade Commission should rigorously analyze the costs and benefits of its proposed privacy recommendations, including the “Do Not Track” mechanism, before moving forward with any policy proposals, states Thomas Lenard in comments submitted in response to the Commission’s Staff Report on privacy. Without such an analysis, the Commission cannot accurately predict if its recommendations will improve or reduce consumer welfare.