Ryan Calo writes, "I argue in a new paper that economists and privacy advocates don't need to hate one another... Here's the abstract:"
Law and economics tends to be skeptical of privacy, finding privacy overrated, inefficient, and perhaps even immoral. Law should not protect privacy because privacy inhibits the market by allowing people to hide useful information.
Privacy law scholars tend to be skeptical of markets. Markets 'unravel' privacy by penalizing consumers who prefer it, degrade privacy by treating it as just another commodity to be traded, and otherwise interfere with the values or processes that privacy exists to preserve.
This mutual and longstanding hostility obscures the significant degree to which privacy and markets assume and reply upon one another in order to achieve their respective ends.
For example, in a world without privacy, traditional market criteria such as price and quality can be overwhelmed by salient but extraneous information such as personal belief. Meanwhile, imagine how much a government must know about its citizens to reject markets and distribute resources according to the maxim 'from each according to his ability, to each according to his need.'
Conceiving of privacy and markets as sympathetic helps justify or explain certain legal puzzles, such as why the Federal Trade Commission -- an agency devoted to free and open markets and replete with economists -- has emerged as the de facto privacy authority in the United States. The account also helps build a normative case for political and other laws that enforce a separation between market and other information.
Privacy and Markets: A Love Story
In a party-line split, the U.S. Senate today voted to allow internet service providers to retain personal data without permission and sell it to whomever might pay for it. The Senate voted 50:48 in favor of S.J. 34, which would remove the rules and, under the authority of the Congressional Review Act, prevent similar rules […]
Senate Republicans have introduced a bill to ensure that the FCC won’t be able to prevent your ISP from spying on your internet usage and selling your private information. What does that mean in practice?
Privacy International interviewed 57 sources for their report on the link between surveillance and torture and murder in Kenya, including 32 law enforcement, military or intelligence officers with direct firsthand knowledge of the programs.
What could be more fun than a slingshot that shoots tiny airplanes? A slingshot that shoots tiny glowing airplanes of course! These toy planes are outfitted with ultra-bright LEDs, so you can fly all night without losing them in the trees.Whether you are a regular-sized child, or an overgrown adult one, these light-up flyers offer […]
You know the drill. You go to the dentist and they ask you how often you floss. You lie through your teeth and say, “every day!” (Bonus points if you have some cilantro or chives stuck in your gums from lunch). You don’t want to keep up the charade any longer, but rubbing that tiny strand […]
The Raspberry Pi Foundation has done outstanding work packing a fully capable desktop computer into a package the size of a deck cards—especially one that only costs $35. But if you already have a working laptop, why should you care? Oh, how much you have to learn. Besides operating well as a compact digital media hub, […]