NEGATIVE CONSUMER/INTERNET SIGNIFICANCE 391
SURVEY RESULTS ABOUT CONSUMER PRIVACY ARE MEANINGLESS
TALK IS CHEAP, AND SURVEYS DO NOT REVEAL CONSUMERS' REAL ATTITUDES
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
Talk is cheap. Surveys do not reveal customers' real attitudes nearly as well as actions. If concerns about privacy emerge in an ephemeral manner in response to a prompting from a survey, and are never acted upon, they are not worth transforming into regulatory goals. If, by contrast, concerns about privacy do affect consumer behavior, then they will emerge in the market with no need for regulation.
SURVEY QUESTIONS ABOUT DIRECT MARKETING BEING ANNOYING AND CONFUSING ARE INADEQUATE FORMS OF PROOF TO JUSTIFY PRIVACY REGULATION
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
Second, responses to survey questions about what is "annoying" or "confusing" may not be the best indication of the value of direct marketing. For example, many respondents may not realize the extent to which they "use" advertising mail from which they do not purchase any items. When I purchase clothing from one catalog, for example, I use similar catalogs to comparison shop. Even the information that certain products do not interest me can prove useful. I know from their direct mail that Neiman-Marcus's clothes are usually out of my price range, and that JC Penney's do not suit my taste. The process of comparison and elimination saves time and money, but it is probably a benefit of junk mail that many people overlook.