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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.

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Press Releases

The Future of Privacy Online, September 27th Event Co-Hosted by TPI and ITIF

From blogs to Facebook profiles to Twitter messages, individuals are increasingly choosing to share information about themselves online. More personal information online brings both risks and rewards. How are companies using this digital information and how do consumers benefits from increased data sharing? Perhaps more importantly, do consumers have enough control over their personal information or is there a need for government regulators to step in? These issues will be discussed at “The Future of Privacy Online,” co-hosted by the Technology Policy Institute (TPI) and the Information Technology and Innovation Foundation (ITIF).

Press Releases

Online Privacy Issues Examined at Aspen Forum

The question of whether and how to regulate the collection and use of online information is receiving renewed attention from the Congress, Federal Trade Commission, and the Department of Commerce. What are the privacy problems we face on the Internet? Are they amenable to government or market solutions? What are the strengths and weaknesses of pending legislative proposals? What are the tradeoffs involved in regulating information flows more stringently? These questions will be examined at the TPI Aspen Forum breakout session “Privacy Online: Where Do We Go From Here?” The discussion is one of three off-the-record breakout sessions scheduled at the TPI Aspen Forum, to be held August 22 – 24 at the St. Regis in Aspen, Colorado.

Press Releases

Journal Article: In Defense of Data: Information and the Cost of Privacy

The commercial use of information on the Internet has produced substantial benefits for consumers, explain TPI President Thomas Lenard and Senior Fellow Paul Rubin in “In Defense of Data: Information and the Cost of Privacy,” published today by the Policy & Internet Journal. In the article, the authors argue that firms have incentives to satisfy customers’ privacy preferences and that restrictions in the legitimate use of information may not lead to further privacy benefits.

Commentaries and Op-Eds

In Defense of Data: Information and the Costs of Privacy, Policy & Internet Journal

The commercial use of information on the Internet has produced substantial benefits for consumers. But, as the use of information online has increased, so have concerns about privacy. This paper discusses how the use of individuals� information for commercial purposes affects consumers, and the implications of restricting information availability in the interest of privacy. It lays out a range of information benefits to consumers of the commercial use of online information, including targeted services, cost reductions through targeted advertising, efficient search engines, differential pricing and re-use of information. It argues that firms have incentives to satisfy customers� privacy preferences and that restrictions in the legitimate use of information may not lead to further privacy benefits. It discusses a number of policy proposals geared at maximizing privacy, arguing that benefits to consumers would be outweighed by the information costs.

Commentaries and Op-Eds

In Defense of Data: Information and the Costs of Privacy

The commercial use of information on the Internet has produced substantial benefits for consumers. But, as the use of information online has increased, so have concerns about privacy. This paper discusses how the use of individuals� information for commercial purposes affects consumers, and the implications of restricting information availability in the interest of privacy.

Research Papers

In Defense of Data: Information and the Costs of Privacy – Executive Summary

The commercial use of information on the Internet has produced substantial benefits for consumers. But, as the use of information online has increased, so have concerns about privacy. This paper discusses how the use of individuals� information for commercial purposes affects consumers, and the implications of restricting information availability in the interest of privacy.

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