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.
“The privacy debate is taking place in an empirical vacuum,” state Thomas Lenard and Paul Rubin in “The FTC and Privacy: We Don’t Need No Stinking Data” published in The Antitrust Source, a journal of the American Bar Association. The article evaluates two recent Federal Trade Commission privacy reports and concludes that they suffer from a lack of data and analysis and therefore “are seriously deficient as a foundation for new policy recommendations.”
Can “self-regulation” adequately protect privacy online? That question was posed during a recent Senate Commerce Committee hearing focused on the current self-regulatory effort to develop a “Do-Not-Track” (DNT) mechanism – and answered in the negative by the committee’s senior Democrats, who believe privacy legislation is long overdue. Commerce Committee Chairman Rockefeller emphasized that he was speaking for consumers. But despite years of such hearings, the benefits to consumers of privacy regulation of any kind – let alone net benefits (i.e., benefits minus costs) – have yet to be demonstrated.
Lenard to NTIA: Cost-Benefit Analysis can Ensure all Internet Users are Represented in Privacy Code of Conduct
Comments filed with the National Telecommunications and Information Administration on “Multistakeholder Process To Develop Consumer Data Privacy Codes of Conduct.”
The privacy code of conduct developed by the National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA) multistakeholder (MSH) process will apply to many more consumers and firms than can be directly involved in the process. Therefore, code provisions should be analyzed in much the same way as a regulation in order to assure that they produce benefits in excess of costs, states Thomas Lenard in comments filed today with the National Telecommunications and Information Administration. By adopting a process for cost-benefit analysis, the agency can ensure the interests of all stakeholders, including present and future Internet users, are represented.