VALUE OF PRIVACY EXTENSIONS
THE NOTION THAT PEOPLE HAVE A RIGHT TO CONTROL INFORMATION ABOUT THEM IS A FALSE CONSTRUCT OF PRIVACY
Solveig Singleton, director of information studies at the Cato Institute, January 22, 1998 Cato Policy Analysis No. 295 PRIVACY AS CENSORSHIP: A Skeptical View of Proposals to Regulate Privacy in the Private Sectorhttp://www.cato.org/pubs/pas/pa-295.html // acs-EE2001
Increasingly, though, privacy advocates assert that people have a general right to control the use of information about themselves, implying that anyone wishing to transfer or collect almost any kind of information should first get the permission of the person whom the information concerns.(9) This analysis focuses on that specific concept of "privacy," though privacy can be (and probably should be) otherwise defined.(10)
PRIVACY IS A LUXURY OF THE UPPER CLASS
Anita L. Allen, Professor, University of Pennsylvania School of Law, "COERCING PRIVACY," William & Mary Law Review, March, 1999, 40 Wm and Mary L. Rev. 723, EE2001-hxm, P.
The group that does not care much about privacy may consist of individuals who share some things in common. The regard one has for privacy or particular forms of privacy may be partly a function of one's generation, educational background, and wealth. An upper middle-class person can afford to care about the privacy of her body. She does not need to take a job as a stripper, whereas a poor, uneducated person might. Generational differences in the taste for privacy may be significant in the United States, as younger Americans appear to be learning to live reasonably well and happily without privacy. Young adults seem to take exposure for granted and many understand that they live in virtual glass houses. Anyone with sophistication about the Internet or the credit and insurance industries knows that it is easy and cheap to find out facts about friends, neighbors, and strangers. n52 I may not be able to walk into your bedroom, but I can find out how much you earn, where you work, your Social Security number, and how much you paid for your house. Young adults today understand that their medical records are not seen solely by their doctors, and that cameras posted in workplaces, at ATM machines, and on the public streets monitor their conduct. They know about the night detection devices and hyperbolic microphones that enable others to see and hear inside their homes. n53
WE SHOULD NOT BASE PRIVACY REGULATIONS ON SURVEYS OF WHAT INDIVIDUALS WANT -- IT IS VERY MISLEADING
Solveig Singleton, director of information studies at the Cato Institute, 1999, " Self-Regulation: Real Markets Versus Regulatory Manias"http://www.cfp99.org/program/papers/singleton.htm // acs-EE2001
Why Surveys Should Not Be the Standard of Success
One grave mistake made in the privacy arena is to dictate regulatory goals in response to surveys of consumer's views on privacy. Economists are extremely suspicious of using surveys to determine customer preferences, because no money is at stake. In markets, what counts are actions, not words. True preferences are revealed by actions. For example:
* Janet says she would prefer to buy T-shirts made in the U.S.A to save American jobs. But when shopping, she picks the $15.00 shirt over the $20.00 made in U.S.A. version every time.
* Thousands of executives say that they would like to spend more time with their families, but they never do, revealing their real preferences when faced with the tradeoff between career and family.
* A thousand consumers say they are concerned about privacy on the Internet, but flock to Amazon.com. Some of them find Amazon's tracking of their purchases unnerving, but not so much that they are willing to go the local bookstore and pay cash instead.
* A million consumers say that they are annoyed by junk mail. But by "junk" they mean the catalogs they throw away--they don't think of the dry cleaning coupons as "junk," or the C.W. clothing catalog. They forget that they learned by perusing the Sak's Fifth Avenue catalog that it is too pricy for them, or how much they saved in time and gas by buying through mail order instead of going through the mall.