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The economics of revealing and protecting private information: Evidence from human subject experiments and surveys
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Privacy and security decision-making depends not only on technological, but also economic, behavioral, and legal factors. The resulting privacy choices by individuals often appear puzzling and contradictory in comparison to results from opinion surveys indicating high concern for the sanctity of private information. In this talk I will discuss results from two studies that shed light on the underlying drivers of these observations.
First, I will report on a study of software installations assessing the effectiveness of different notices for helping people to make better decisions on which software to install. Our study of 222 users showed that providing a short summary notice, in addition to the End User License Agreement (EULA), reduced the number of potentially harmful software installations significantly. However, even with the introduction of short and conspicuous notices, as recommended by consumer interest groups and government agencies, many users installed programs and later expressed regret for doing so.
Second, I will present experimental results that support the assumption that protecting information is not only based on different marketplace activities than giving away information but that there is a significant gap between consumers’ valuation for protecting and giving up privacy. These results have implications for the accurate measurement of privacy losses in legal proceedings, and should be taken into consideration when evaluating the desirability of consumer protection regulation.
This talk is part of the Computer Laboratory Security Seminar series.
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