Online Privacy Articles

By TAP Staff Blogger

Posted on February 22, 2010


This Wednesday, February 24th, the US House of Representatives is holding a 'Joint Hearing on “The Collection and Use of Location Information for Commercial Purposes.”' It will investigate the issues between commercial use of location data and consumer privacy.

TAP academics have written extensively on online privacy issues. The following articles provide an overview of some of the issues surrounding online privacy, especially as it relates to personal information.

  • Lawrence Lessig states in “The Code of Privacy,” that the Internet has made control over data especially difficult. He goes on to ask, “Is it possible to imagine a world that protected “privacy” without systematically blocking access to data? Could we achieve “privacy” without keeping things “private”?”
  • John Palfrey and his colleagues ask if firms should hire a job candidate when online searches turn up controversial information about her in “We Googled You.”
  • In “Privacy, Property Rights & Efficiency: The Economics of Privacy as Secrecy,” Michael L. Katz and Benjamin E. Hermalin find that privacy can be efficient even when there is no “taste” for privacy per se, and to be effective, a privacy policy may need to ban information transmission or use rather than simply assign individuals control rights to their personally identifiable data.
  • In “The Benefits and Costs of Online Privacy Legislation” Robert W. Hahn and Anne Layne-Farrar caution that a broad approach to regulating how online businesses use consumer information could hurt technology and growth, with few gains.

These articles look at privacy from the user perspective.

Service providers and Web site operators have choices to make regarding capturing, retaining, and utilizing their customers’ information. These articles examine a few of the issues.

For a complete list of privacy papers highlighted on TAP, view the article list on our Privacy & Security issues page.