[PET] Privacy economics: evidence from the field

Jonathan Anderson jonathan.anderson at cl.cam.ac.uk
Tue Mar 13 09:56:20 GMT 2012

On 12 Mar 2012, at 16:22, Sören Preibusch wrote:
> We have now completed the largest laboratory and field experiment ever in
> privacy economics:
>> One in three Web shoppers pay half a euro extra for keeping their mobile 
>> phone number private. If privacy comes for free, more than 80% of 
>> consumers choose the company that collects less personal information.

Hi Sören,

This is both great news and a little depressing. It's fantastic that you've done the large-scale experiment which people have previously only nibbled around the edges of, and it's somewhat encouraging that people do care enough about privacy to pay extra.

The amount they seem willing to pay (€.50) seems a little disheartening, but perhaps as a percentage, it might be seen as encouraging. You say in the report that the (subsidised) cost of buying a film ticket was "as low as €3"; what was the average? Was a €.50 difference less persuasive for more expensive tickets? If people are willing to pay a "privacy premium" of 16%, that's a big deal. If it's more like 5% (that is, if the subjects thought of €10 tickets rather than subsidised-down-to-€8 tickets), it's still interesting, but slightly less heartening.

Jonathan Anderson

Research Student, Security Group
Computer Laboratory
University of Cambridge

+44 (1223) 763747
jonathan.anderson at cl.cam.ac.uk

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