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The Average Consumer Thinks Data Privacy Is Worth Around 65 Cents 128

chicksdaddy writes "Threatpost is reporting today on the findings of an ENISA study that looked at whether consumers would pay more for goods in exchange for more privacy. The answer — 'Sure...just not much more.' The report (PDF): 'Study on Monetizing Privacy: An Economic Model for Pricing Personal Information' presents the findings of a laboratory study in which consumers were asked to buy identical goods from two online vendors: one that collected minimal customer information and another that required the customer to surrender more of their personal information to purchase the item, including phone number and a government ID number. The laboratory experiment showed that the majority of consumers value privacy protections. When the prices of the goods offered by both the privacy protecting and the privacy violating online retailers were equal, shoppers much preferred the privacy protecting vendor. But the preference for more privacy wasn't very strong, and didn't come close to equaling consumers' preference for lower prices. In fact, consumers readily switched to a more privacy-invasive provider if that provider charged a lower price for the same goods. How much lower? Not much, researchers discovered. A discount of just E0.50 ($0.65) was enough to sway consumers away from a vendor who would protect the privacy of their personal data."
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The Average Consumer Thinks Data Privacy Is Worth Around 65 Cents

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  • by freeze128 ( 544774 ) on Wednesday March 14, 2012 @03:09PM (#39356315)
    Plus, the overall price of the product needs to come into account. Saving $.65 on the privacy invasion purchase of a Blu-Ray movie seems reasonable, but what about purchasing a car, or a new home? I might sacrifice a few details for a can of Coke, but not for a shotgun.
  • Re:In their defense (Score:5, Interesting)

    by vlm ( 69642 ) on Wednesday March 14, 2012 @03:15PM (#39356395)

    The article was not crystal clear, but I think it was run at Univ Cambridge UK.

    Where I went to school, if you wanted to pass intro psych, you had to volunteer to participate in psych research tests. 3 experiments, if I recall. These tests were run by the upperclass psych students as part of passing experimental psych class. I took sociology for my "soft science" but I heard stories about lots of perceptual tests and timed foolishness. You'd hope for a human sexuality experiment, or a psychoactive drug experiment, but you were almost certain to be timed while solving a puzzle of some unusual sort, or shown something and asked weird questions about what you remember of it, etc.

    To some extent, given the unemployment rates of psych grads, you story still stands... but, psych is not quite as bad as being, say, panhandlers off the street.

  • Headline misleading. (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Seor Jojoba ( 519752 ) on Wednesday March 14, 2012 @03:30PM (#39356575) Homepage

    The article (not the original paper) is averaging together all of the people that said "Naw, I wouldn't pay anything extra" along with all the people that said one, two, or five dollars, etc. So of course it's going to be some sad little number, leading to a headline that sounds like people are selling their souls.

    A more useful question, "of those willing to pay for privacy, how much would they pay?" Read the original paper (not the cheap little article) and you see things like "A non-negligible proportion of the experiment’s participants (13–83%), however, chose to pay a ‘premium’ for privacy. " The paper is actually supporting the idea that some people are willing to pay enough that it would fit into the business model of different content providers.

    I also think that a bunch of us hate the idea of paying for privacy, not because we don't value it very much, but because it is offensive to think we would need to pay for it. So again the article headline gives a false notion of everyone selling out for 65 cents, when the stats are unlikely distinguishing between apathetics and holy rollers that would both decline to pay for privacy.

  • Third Option (Score:5, Interesting)

    by retroworks ( 652802 ) on Wednesday March 14, 2012 @03:40PM (#39356705) Homepage Journal
    I actually read some of the PDF report. The entire world falls into two groups: Those that provided the information, and those that did not. Am I the only person in the world who provides false information in return for $.065? Or does the study disclose, by not having data on how many provided false information, that it had no control for false information?
  • by Artraze ( 600366 ) on Wednesday March 14, 2012 @03:44PM (#39356743)


    Looking at page 30 of the report you can see this quite clearly, There are two columns representing the different options:
    A) Name, E-Mail, Birthday, (+ Credit Card info) = €7.50
    B) Name, E-Mail, Birthday, Phone, (+ Credit Card info) = €7.00

    Well gee, if I'm giving out all that info, who cares about the phone number? And honestly I'd probably type in a 555-1234 number and save the €.50.

    At best, this just proves that people are lazy, don't read the term and conditions and won't type in some numbers if there's no incentive to. This is _vastly_ different from, say, payment for monitoring your browsing history, or just selling the data start away. (Usually, if you trust a seller enough to give them your credit card information, you aren't going to be too worried about giving them your phone number as well.)

    I haven't read through the whole report, and probably won't, but I can't understand why then even did this. I suppose it's mildly interesting to be prove that no one reads the privacy policy, but that's hardly surprising. (It's not like they're really enforced anyway, so what's the point.) It would have been much more interesting if it was clearer that their information was going to be sold, like "€7.50 or FREE if you fill out this survey with valid phone + email".

  • by hairyfeet ( 841228 ) <bassbeast1968 AT gmail DOT com> on Wednesday March 14, 2012 @05:00PM (#39357687) Journal

    Hell you don't even have to give them ANYTHING to have them screw themselves, all you have to do is offer the illusion of giving them something. Its called the dancing bunnies problem [] and working PC sales and repair i've seen it more times than many here have had hot meals. People will give away their passwords, run ANY program, bypass ANY security, all you have to do is offer the right dancing bunny.

    Sadly the only time i had to get ugly with a customer (I threw him out of the shop and told him I'd call the cops if he came back) was a customer that demanded that I repair his machine for free because he refused to listen and destroyed his system for a dancing bunny. Now with my little system I have for Win 7 I have had zero infected machines EXCEPT this guy, and I had told him before i ever sold him the machine when he asked about it "I can't give you that program because it doesn't exist anymore, the feds shut down limewire years ago and anything that says its limewire is just a virus" so what did he do? he Googled "The new limewire" the very second he got home and when both the AV AND the browser blocked him trying to get it he first uninstalled the browser then when he couldn't disable the AV he uninstalled it, all for the lure of a program that didn't exist. of course when he ran "the new limewire" what he got was over 100 malware infections and so many clickjackers that he couldn't even see the desktop for the constant stream of popups. when i finally threw him out the shop he was yelling "It says right there its the new limewire so make it work dammit!"

    Linux won't save you, in fact there are websites that show you how to make a bug in 5 easy steps [] by using the dancing bunny, mac won't save you either as we saw with DNSChanger and MacDefender/Guardian, in the end security all comes to to the user. why would the user pay even 10c for their data to be secured when frankly they will hand over the keys to the kingdom for the offer of a dancing bunny? I had to come up with a free porn site just to keep the "Iz-not_Viruz_iz_codex" bugs from infecting guys, I've seen girls run strange programs offered them in chat sessions by strangers because it was supposed to be some match 3 or a "free' version of some popular game like Angry birds or Plants Vs Zombies, this is why I've had to spend so much time learning how to keep as many decisions OUT of the hands of the user as possible, because frankly the word security never even crosses their minds, not if you offer a dancing bunny.

    Hell these websites could put "Not only are we gonna sell your data but we are gonna send a 600 pound silverback over to rape you while we film it for Youtube" and as long as they had some stupid thing to offer the user, some stupid game or chat or like FB a chance to blather on about themselves? they'd happily sign anything you want them to. Hell look at how many FB apps have been coming up with some truly insane demands, post as you, access to ALL of your data AND all the data of any friends, etc, and yet i get idiots I knew in HS and old GFs wanting me to use these crazy apps constantly. when i ask them 'Didn't you even read what it requires to use?" they are all "huh? what? but its cool!". Sadly while security takes real work blowing it all to hell takes only one dumbass a few minutes to crap all over it. if ugly is to the bone then dumbass must be to the molecule!

Fear is the greatest salesman. -- Robert Klein