The Economics of Privacy

In Cooperation With TechFreedom and the Federal Communications Bar Association This conference will bring together representatives from the Commerce Department, FTC, Congress, and an interdisciplinary group of leading thinkers to debate the economics of privacy. Keynote speeches, an overview panel, and other panels will focus on some of the most active areas of debate – behavioral advertising, social networks, facial recognition, and location privacy – we will study the promise and the limits of markets, asking questions such as: Should information privacy laws require opt-in or opt-out rules? How well has the FTC’s focus on privacy policies fared? What are best practices for terms of service? What are the pros and cons of a do-not-track system, and should it be backed by law? Do smart phone providers solicit enough meaningful consent to track user location? How do European regulators differ from their American counterparts in their treatment of markets?

Tags: Privacy / Technology Policy

Information privacy has become one of the most important and hotly debated topics in technology policy. For example, personalization is a key engine driving Internet innovation and economic growth, and the emerging business models of many companies are built upon the collection and analysis of personal information from their users. The increased collection and use of this information, however, can sometimes threaten individual privacy.

Inside these companies, debates about information privacy focus most often on questions about markets and economics: Who owns the data? Have the users consented? Can’t robust notice-and-choice strike the best balance between business need and privacy? Often is heard the argument that users are perfectly capable of revealing the amount of privacy they prefer through their market decisions, which is used to oppose calls for laws that promise more privacy than the market delivers as paternalistic.

In the meantime, despite the fact that information privacy represents one of the most exciting, rapidly growing areas of legal scholarship, information privacy law scholars rarely express any faith in market principles, when they talk about markets at all. Government regulators seem a bit more conflicted, with recent pronouncements from the Commerce Department, FTC, and Congress each premised largely on market-based, notice-and-choice principles, but recognizing the limits of markets.

Join the Silicon Flatirons Center for Law, Technology, and Entrepreneurship on Friday, December 2, 2011, as it brings representatives from these three groups together to debate the economics of privacy. Joining them will be an interdisciplinary group of leading thinkers from other disciplines, such as economists studying the behavioral economics of privacy and computer scientists who specialize in human-computer interaction studying the limits of notice-and-choice.

In keynote speeches, an overview panel, and other panels focused on some of the most active areas of debate – behavioral advertising, social networks, facial recognition, and location privacy – we will study the promise and the limits of markets, asking questions such as: Should information privacy laws require opt-in or opt-out rules? How well has the FTC’s focus on privacy policies fared? What are best practices for terms of service? What are the pros and cons of a do-not-track system, and should it be backed by law? Do smart phone providers solicit enough meaningful consent to track user location? How do European regulators differ from their American counterparts in their treatment of markets?

Many of the conference attendees will present academic articles, to be published in an upcoming issue of the Journal on Telecommunications and High Technology Law.


Sessions

Welcome
  • Paul Ohm
    Associate Professor of Law, Associate Dean for Academic Affairs
  • Phil Weiser
    Hatfield Professor of Law, University of Colorado Law School
Opening Keynote Address
Panel One: Is There a Market Failure for Information Privacy?
  • Paul Ohm — Moderator
    Associate Professor of Law, Associate Dean for Academic Affairs
  • Alessandro Acquisti
    Associate Professor, Information Technology and Public Policy
  • Julie Cohen
    Professor of Law, Georgetown University
  • Lior Strahilevitz
    Deputy Dean and Sidley Austin, Professor of Law
  • Scott Peppet
    Professor of Law, University of Colorado
  • Lorrie Cranor
    Associate Professor, Institute for Software Research, Engineering & Public Policy
Keynote Address
  • Joseph Farrell
    Director of the Bureau of Economics, Federal Trade Commission
Lunch

Panel Two: The Economics of Behavioral Advertising
  • Ryan Calo — Moderator
    Lane Powell and D. Wayne Gittinger Associate Professor, University of Washington School of Law
  • Eric Goldman
    Associate Professor, Director of the High Tech Law Institute
  • Laura Kornish
    Associate Professor, University of Colorado Leeds School of Business
  • Seth Levine
    Managing Director, Co-founder, Foundry Group
  • Catherine Tucker
    Douglas Drane Career Development Professor in IT & Management and Associate Professor of Marketing, Massachusetts Institute of Technology
  • Aleecia McDonald
    Fellow, Stanford Center for Internet and Society
Break

Panel Three: The Economics of the Cutting Edge
  • Harry Surden — Moderator
    Associate Professor, University of Colorado Law School
  • Peter Swire
    Co-Chair, W3C Tracking Protection Working Group
  • Geoff Manne
    Executive Director, International Center for Law & Economics (ICLE)
  • Jeff Carter
    Chief Strategy Officer, EyeLock
  • Fernando Laguarda
    Vice President, External Affairs and Policy Counselor, Time Warner Cable
A Conversation with FTC Commissioner Julie Brill
  • Paul Ohm — Moderator
    Associate Professor of Law, Associate Dean for Academic Affairs
  • Julie Brill
    Commissioner, Federal Trade Commission

Know What’s Next