Consumer Privacy, Information Sharing, and Consumer Finance: Tradeoffs and Opportunities

58 Pages Posted: 1 May 2024

See all articles by Todd J. Zywicki

Todd J. Zywicki

George Mason University - Antonin Scalia Law School; PERC - Property and Environment Research Center

Date Written: May 1, 2024


Concerns over the ownership, use, security, and flows of consumer data information are not new. Yet the dominance of the Internet and electronic payments has elevated such concerns to a high level. Traditionally there was perceived to be a tradeoff between the flow of information necessary for the consumer financial system to work well (such as to solve information asymmetries necessary in order to make credit-granting decisions) and consumer control over their data and keeping their information private. Data security approaches historically pursued a state “fortress” model that rested on the ability of consumers to keep private a small amount of information the consumer uniquely knew, such as a PIN or password.

Today, however, it is becoming apparent that this static model is no longer viable and can be expected to grow less viable with the growth of artificial intelligence and machine-learning. But such approaches have costs as well—not only are they often more cumbersome, when the fortress walls are breached these systems can be slower to adapt and can result in increased harm to consumers on the back end. Some people have suggested that we respond to these emergent threats by trying to build taller and thicker fortress walls and other static, such as the use of biometric identification. The approach suggested here, by contrast, attempts to model what a more dynamic approach to information security would look like and how such a system would be dependent on more data flows rather than less. I suggest some areas of current and proposed regulation that should be reexamined in light of the analysis presented here.

Keywords: payments security, debit cards, credit cards, data sharing

JEL Classification: D11, D14, D18, G28, G50, K22

Suggested Citation

Zywicki, Todd J., Consumer Privacy, Information Sharing, and Consumer Finance: Tradeoffs and Opportunities (May 1, 2024). George Mason Law & Economics Research Paper No. 24-09, Available at SSRN:

Todd J. Zywicki (Contact Author)

George Mason University - Antonin Scalia Law School ( email )

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