The Privacy Gambit: Toward a Game Theoretic Approach to International Data Protection
Vanderbilt Journal of Entertainment and Technology Law, Vol. 9, No. 1, 2006
44 Pages Posted: 28 Jan 2009
When we speak of privacy in the Internet age, a distinction needs to be drawn between traditional privacy, the law of whether and to what extent the state can intrude in the private sphere of an individual, and data protection or information privacy, the regulation of the use of personal information about individuals by non-state interests, such as corporations. Unfortunately, much of the public discourse on the subject of information privacy adopts a framework (and a concomitant set of expectations) more suitable to traditional privacy: an inviolable right to be let alone by the state. As a number of commentators have recognized, the modern incarnation of privacy, rather than creating or reinforcing a sacrosanct right against the government, actually creates a quasi-property right, where personal data is a valuable commodity and access to it is negotiable.
Given the negotiable nature of information privacy, concepts from economics in general, and game theory in particular, can be useful in framing and explaining the ways in which actors in our information privacy system actually conduct themselves vis-a-vis personal information. The potency of privacy protection ebbs and flows, depending in part on the strategic choices made by a number of individual and institutional actors, including the individual him- or herself.
Keywords: privacy, dataprotection, game theory, economics, information privacy
JEL Classification: C70, K00, K33
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation