Unpacking Privacy's Price
Department of Urban Design and Planning, University of Washington
Chris Jay Hoofnagle
University of California, Berkeley - School of Law, Berkeley Center for Law & Technology; School of Information
June 14, 2012
Jan Whittington & Chris Jay Hoofnagle, Unpacking Privacy's Price, 90 North Carolina Law Review 1327 (2012)
This article introduces a transaction cost economic framework for interpreting the roles consumers play in social networking services (“SNSs”). It explains why the exchange between consumers and SNSs is not simple and discrete, but rather a continuous transaction with atypical attributes. These exchanges are difficult for consumers to understand and come with costs that are significant and unanticipated. Under current structures of governance, there is no exit for consumers who wish to leave an SNS. In other contexts, similar transactions are bounded by tailored consumer protections. This article explains the need for tailored consumer protection in the SNS context. Specifically, we argue that a consumer right to rescind enrollment in an SNS, triggering a deletion of and ability to export information shared with the service, is appropriate given the skewed aspects of personal information transactions.
Number of Pages in PDF File: 44
Keywords: transaction cost economics, TCE, free, free offers, privacy, Facebook, social network services, right to delete, portability, right to be forgotten, Williamson, New Institutional Economics, Federal Trade Commission, FTC free guide
JEL Classification: A13, B25, D18, D23, D82, D18, K20
Date posted: May 14, 2012 ; Last revised: September 20, 2013
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