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Master's Professional Reports Abstract

The Economic Trade-offs of Privacy: Exploring the Interaction of Economics and Privacy in the Formulation of Privacy Policy.
Costello, Thomas J.
REPORT 2003 C82427 Public Affairs Library

What do a civil suit, buying a book, reserving a hotel room over the internet, and assessed property values have in common? Each of these unrelated concerns has privacy and economic implications. This report shows that privacy discussion often takes place utilizing economic terminology, yet the economic trade-offs are absent from the formulation of the final privacy policy. With privacy policy being developed in both the public and private sectors, all of society is affected by its changes and implementation. This report takes four of the countless aspects of privacy (confidentiality in mediation, Section 215 of the USA PATRIOT Act, “un-privacy” and the internet, and “semi-public” information) and illustrates how understanding privacy policy from an economic perspective is important, and moreover, that adopting economic policies that maximize privacy (and vice versa) is a strategy that works.