Privacy, Transparency, and the Prisoner's Dilemma

29 Pages Posted: 31 Jul 2018

See all articles by Adam D. Moore

Adam D. Moore

University of Washington - The Information School

Sean Martin

Independent

Date Written: May 11, 2018

Abstract

Aside from making a few weak, and hopefully widely shared claims about the value of privacy, transparency, and accountability, we will offer an argument for the protection of privacy based on individual self-interest and prudence. In large part, this argument will parallel considerations that arise in a prisoner’s dilemma game. After briefly sketching an account of the value of privacy, transparency, and accountability, along with the salient features of a prisoner’s dilemma games, a game-theory analysis will be offered. In a game where both players want privacy and to avoid transparency and the associated accountability, the dominant action will be to foist accountability and transparency on the other player while attempting to retain one’s own privacy. Simply put, if both players have the ability or power to make the other more accountable and transparent, they will do so for the same reasons that player’s defect in a prisoner’s dilemma game. Ultimately this will lead to a sub-optimal outcome of too much accountability and transparency. While there are several plausible solutions to prisoner dilemma games, we will offer both technical, as well as, law and policy solutions. We need to change the payoffs of the game so that is it in everyone’s interest to balance privacy and accountability rather than foisting transparency on others.

Keywords: privacy, transparency, prisoner's dilemma

Suggested Citation

Moore, Adam D. and Martin, Sean, Privacy, Transparency, and the Prisoner's Dilemma (May 11, 2018). Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3212217 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.3212217

Adam D. Moore (Contact Author)

University of Washington - The Information School ( email )

Box 352840
Mary Gates Hall, Ste. 370
Seattle, WA 98195
206.685.9937 (Phone)

HOME PAGE: http://ischool.uw.edu

Sean Martin

Independent

No Address Available

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