In the post-Snowden world, debates about privacy are ubiquitous. Some of the most heated debates center around consumer data collection by the government and large corporations, a practice that many advocates and watchdog groups seek to protect Americans from. But do Americans want or need such protection? A new Brookings paper illustrates how many of the technologies often considered to pose the greatest threats to data privacy actually offer consumers another kind of privacy that they value even more: the privacy to consume goods and media away from prying eyes.
On January 13, Governance Studies at Brookings convened a panel of experts to discuss this “privacy paradox,” to challenge the common belief that consumers are simply willing to sacrifice privacy for convenience and cost-effectiveness when making purchasing decisions, and to determine whether it is time to redefine privacy with the consumer perspective in mind.