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Debunking the Commercial Profilers' Claims: A Skeptical Analysis of the Benefits of Personal Information Flows

23 Pages Posted: 20 Feb 2004  

Chris Jay Hoofnagle

University of California, Berkeley - School of Information; University of California, Berkeley - School of Law

Kerry E. Smith

Independent

Date Written: June 2003

Abstract

In comments to the Federal Trade Commission, the authors propose a model for evaluating the costs to personal privacy imposed by uses of personal information. Under this proposal, the costs of information flows would be measured against Fair Information Practices, principles that set out the rights and responsibilities of data subjects and data collectors. The authors argue that many economic assumptions regarding the benefits of information flows have not come to fruition, especially in the financial services arena. The authors challenge five specious claims of the information industry: that information flows reduce prices, that customers want personalization, that profiling reduces the number of solicitations that individuals receive; that personal information allows companies to extend consumers more choices, and that information flows reduce fraud.

Keywords: Information economics, privacy, profiling

Suggested Citation

Hoofnagle, Chris Jay and Smith, Kerry E., Debunking the Commercial Profilers' Claims: A Skeptical Analysis of the Benefits of Personal Information Flows (June 2003). Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=504622 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.504622

Chris Jay Hoofnagle (Contact Author)

University of California, Berkeley - School of Information ( email )

212 South Hall
Berkeley, CA 94720-4600
United States
510-643-0213 (Phone)

HOME PAGE: http://hoofnagle.berkeley.edu

University of California, Berkeley - School of Law ( email )

344 Boalt Hall
Berkeley, CA 94720-7200
United States
510-643-0213 (Phone)

HOME PAGE: http://hoofnagle.berkeley.edu

Kerry E. Smith

Independent

No Address Available

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