Unraveling Privacy: The Personal Prospectus & the Threat of a Full Disclosure Future

52 Pages Posted: 17 Sep 2010

See all articles by Scott R. Peppet

Scott R. Peppet

University of Colorado Law School

Date Written: August 7, 2010


Information technologies are reducing the costs of credible signaling, just as they have reduced the costs of data mining and economic sorting. The burgeoning informational privacy field has ignored this evolution, leaving it unprepared to deal with the consequences of these new signaling mechanisms. In an economy with robust signaling, those with valuable credentials, clean medical records, and impressive credit scores will want to disclose those traits to receive preferential economic treatment. Others may then find that they must also disclose private information to avoid the negative inferences attached to staying silent. This unraveling effect creates new types of privacy harms, converting disclosure from a consensual to a more coerced decision. This Article argues that informational privacy law must focus on the economics of signaling and its unraveling of privacy.

Keywords: privacy,information technology,signaling,sorting,digital dossier,personal prospectus,unraveling

JEL Classification: K00, K39

Suggested Citation

Peppet, Scott R., Unraveling Privacy: The Personal Prospectus & the Threat of a Full Disclosure Future (August 7, 2010). Northwestern University Law Review, 2011 , Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=1678634

Scott R. Peppet (Contact Author)

University of Colorado Law School ( email )

401 UCB
Boulder, CO 80309
United States

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