[PET] Privacy economics: evidence from the field

Sören Preibusch Soeren.Preibusch at cl.cam.ac.uk
Tue Mar 13 19:38:55 GMT 2012


The advertised prices (prior to subsidisation) were €5.50 and €7.50 for the
more expensive, privacy-friendly seller. For the field, the average ticket
price is around €6. Looking at the data, there is no evidence that the
ticket price is systematically associated with willingness to pay extra.


-----Original Message-----
From: Jonathan Anderson [mailto:jra40 at hermes.cam.ac.uk] On Behalf Of
Jonathan Anderson
Sent: 13 March 2012 09:56
To: Sören Preibusch
Cc: Discussion of privacy enhancing technologies
Subject: Re: [PET] Privacy economics: evidence from the field

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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