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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 Anonymous Coward

    One wonders how much your privacy is actually worth. Hell, most sites straight-up tell you that they're going to sell your information the first chance they get. And how much do they get from the sale of your information that you'll never see? I'd be surprised if they even made a dollar per unique user. Just look at the email lists that get swapped around by spammers if you don't believe me.

    • "The Average Consumer Thinks Data Privacy Is Worth Around 65 Cents"

      The average "consumer" usually has little or no knowledge of the true risks of losing privacy, especially in the context of various authoritarian regimes in the past, present and future. The average "consumer" has little knowledge of history, of politics, or of philosophy, or at least does not usually use that knowledge as a basis for buying decisions. The decision to buy a product is usually not a result of any deep thought, but is instead an instinctive and quick decision based on immediate wants or nee

      • by tnk1 ( 899206 )

        I also think many people have the idea that these abuses of privacy are illegal or the government is somehow protecting them in some other non-specific way.

        In the old days, to get certain information, you'd have to stick your head in someone's bedroom window, or break in to get some of the things you can just pull off the Internet these days. Those older information gathering methods are obviously illegal. Today, people hand out information in their own homes using their own computers, but fail to realize

    • One wonders how much your privacy is actually worth.

      Privacy violations can be very costly -- it could mean higher insurance rates, higher credit fees or lower credit limits, being denied a better paying job, being denied residence in a particular community, and so forth. People lose power over their lives when information about themselves is revealed to the world, and those who trade in personal information have quite a bit of power.

      The problem is that most people simply do not yet understand the strategic nature of personal information. They are stil

    • by hairyfeet ( 841228 ) <> 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!

  • by TheRaven64 ( 641858 ) on Wednesday March 14, 2012 @03:03PM (#39356239) Journal
    Were they really measuring how much customers were willing to pay to avoid having this information stored, or were they measuring how much they were willing to pay to avoid having to type it all in? TFA seems slashdotted at the moment, so I can't tell if this is answered, but if you're buying something online then you already need to provide delivery address and credit card details, so there isn't much extra privacy you can get. Not having to type in a load of information is worth a small amount, but it only takes a minute, so not very much.
    • 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.
      • by TheRaven64 ( 641858 ) on Wednesday March 14, 2012 @03:12PM (#39356349) Journal
        TFA started responding to me, and some salient facts appeared. First, the difference between the privacy and non-privacy options were supplying an email address and mobile phone number (no word on whether either had to be valid) and permission to spam the email address. Second, the items in question were cinema tickets, which means that this discount is 5-10%. I'd probably take that - it takes a few seconds to set up a new mail alias that I can delete if it starts to get too spammy.
        • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

          by x1r8a3k ( 1170111 )

          TFA started responding to me

          Did you forget to take your pills today?

          • by ColdWetDog ( 752185 ) on Wednesday March 14, 2012 @03:41PM (#39356715) Homepage

            TFA started responding to me

            Did you forget to take your pills today?

            No, that's something that just happens over a period of time here at Slashdot. It's connected to your UID in some way. Apparently Raven64 has been here long enough for the memes to infiltrate his brain in such a way that he's getting some feedback which is interpreted by most people as a conversation with the summary, then the TFA itself.

            My UID is a bit higher than his and I can hear glimpses of the siren song now and again. I expect full conversations soon.

            It has nothing to do with skipping meds. I find when I do that, the only difference is that the comments make a bit more sense than otherwise.

          • TFA started responding to me

            Did you forget to take your pills today?

            I'm pretty sure the response he was referring to was 200.

      • Another factor that appears to be ignored in this report on the study is the perceived multiplier of the transaction delta from repeat business. If I'm going to save 65 cents on every book Amazon sells me in exchange for surrendering my (same) email address every time, that's very different from a one-time only discount or a unique purchase from a vendor I'm unlikely to revisit. As it happens, the full report does mention two models, one with and one without multiple transactions, but without reading all

      • 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?

        No, it doesn't. If you will drive across town to buy a $100 computer part for $50 then you should drive the same amount to buy a $20,000 car for $19,950. It's a standard economic fallacy to think of savings in terms of percentages rather than raw amount -- driving across town (or whatever other inconvenience) is a fixed cost.

        • You example does not apply since you have to drive across town every time you want to save the $50. You only have to give them your information ONCE and then you can get the discount forever (even if they ask for it every time, they already have it so it's a zero cost). A more accurate analogy would be if your car allowed you to teleport (free) to any location you've already driven. If the store was selling hot-tubs, chance are you'll only go there once, so it may not be worth it. But if it's the grocery st
        • Another common fallacy is assuming people are rational. They are not. Since we are discussing how the average consumer values privacy, taking into account common irrational decision making processes is not only valid, it's necessary.
    • Re: (Score:2, Troll)

      by cpu6502 ( 1960974 )

      It doesn't bother me that my ISP has my private information. Because they aren't the real danger. The real danger is the Department of Homeland Security or other cop going to the ISP and demanding a printout of every website I've ever visited.

      And even the most-protective of corporations can't turn down a Patriot Act request (aka warrantless search). They must comply. So why bother paying for extra security that doesn't really exist?

    • 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".

      • I actually *prefer* to give out my phone number rather than my email address.

        I'd rather have a missed call than spam in my email account.

      • Another problem with "privacy policies" is that they disappear when the company does. Barnes and Noble was able to buy the intellectual property of Borders when they went bankrupt. This included all the customer information regardless of the original Borders privacy policy. []
        So even if you trust a company if it goes out of business your information can go to the highest bidder.
      • by Anonymous Coward

        Directly from TFA (well, TFPDF)

        "This personal data is their private information and there is no mechanism to verify whether the information they disclose is true."

        For $0.65, you can rest assured I'd give you my phone number. It's 321-123-4567. Also my Birthday is Jan 1st, 1960s... or wherever I happen to click after a few page-downs.

  • $.065...sigh (Score:5, Insightful)

    by jomama717 ( 779243 ) <> on Wednesday March 14, 2012 @03:05PM (#39356261) Journal
    Not usually a nitpicker but COME ONE!
    • by suso ( 153703 ) * on Wednesday March 14, 2012 @03:14PM (#39356367) Homepage Journal

      This report was brought to you by Verizon.

    • This is value creation at its finest - we're selling ourselves (or our information) for a price we are willing to accept to a John (Google) who is more than willing to pay.

    • "Point zero zero two cents per kilobyte."

      Okay. So that's that same as point zero zero two pennies, right?

      "Yes sir."

      Okay. So point zero zero two pennies times 35,500 kilobytes == 71 pennies. I owe you 71 pennies. And I'm not paying a penny more asshole Verizon.

      "We'll cancel your account."

      I don't give a shit. I'm switching to Sprint. Where I can hear a pin drop. ;-)

    • "Not usually a nitpicker but COME ON!"

      Most people are of average intelligence or below, it's not surprising. Most people are not intelligent enough or have enough impulse control.

      • Surely, half of all people are of average intelligence or below, otherwise "average intelligence" needs re-defining.

        • by Anonymous Coward

          Mean vs Median...

        • by Junta ( 36770 )

          It depends. If there is a segment of the population that has *exactly* the mean intelligence, then most people would be average *or* below. If talking mean and no one is exactly the mean, then you are correct. If median, then 'average or below' would again comprise the majority.

          • If there is a segment of the population that has *exactly* the mean intelligence, then most people would be average *or* below.

            Of course, by this definition, it is also true that most people are average or above....

        • by Anguirel ( 58085 )

          Let me explain this with a quick and very clear example: the vast majority of the population has an above average (mean) number of limbs. Not everything is a bell curve with standard deviations.

    • ... COME ALL!

    • I'm slightly peaved that NO ONE seems to believe that I am owed a cut of whatever ducats MY information brings in to the people that sell it. I assume that some sort of disclaimer with regard to my info is a standard part of all the the hundreds of EULAs I've had to agree to in my life. But it still seems reasonable to me that if people feel like they have a right to sell that information, which is meaningless without my existence, I have a right to a cut of the profits. Reasoned arguments against?
      • If your suggestion got implemented, there would be accounting and lawsuits to ensure the books weren't cooked, and I'm sure it would be handled in exactly the same way that the MAFIAA calculate profit sharing to ensure you don't get paid except as a last resort.

        You can certainly try asking for money, and get rejected. You are providing the information, they are doing useful and financially lucrative things with it, so it is of value to them, but not enough to give you a kickback.

        Or to put it another way, y

    • If you're going to complain, the currency conversion would make a better target. .50 Euro number seems like a psychological barrier, not value-based. I would expect 50 cents to be the magic number in USA , or on the high side a dollar. If the same test were done in USD, it would not come out to 65 cents (and fluctuate with the daily rates).

      And, the conclusion in the summary is wrong, that it is worth half a Euro. That just happens to be one of the numbers they tried - they didn't isolate it to a penny by

  • In their defense (Score:5, Insightful)

    by elrous0 ( 869638 ) * on Wednesday March 14, 2012 @03:05PM (#39356263)

    The personal data of anyone participating in some random survey is probably pretty useless. Good luck getting a credit card on the credit score of someone willing to show up to some strange lab on the promise of a $10 payment and a free soda.

    • 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.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday March 14, 2012 @03:05PM (#39356265)

    But are the consumers being properly informed about the ramifications of the vendor having that information? What are they using it for? Can they be trusted to only use it for that and not re-sell it? Really? Come on be honest.

    I think this study says more about the illiteracy we have with what "privacy" means and our tendency to trust authority-looking-figures when they say they need information from us. I don't think it's accurate to interpret complacency with rational economic valuation.

    • But are the consumers being properly informed about the ramifications of the vendor having that information?

      And what are those ramifications exactly? Without getting into FUD territory, what is likely bad case scenario?

  • To be fair, you would need to multiply that $0.65 times every item bought. Adding up the sales difference in aggregate, this would be a much higher value than the title suggests.
  • I'd pay more for a pack of verbatims hehe
  • Depends... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Oswald McWeany ( 2428506 ) on Wednesday March 14, 2012 @03:08PM (#39356299)

    65cents under one scenario- beyond that, surely it is all dependant on how invasive they are; what the product is; how much it is to begin with.

    If you're talking about a new 50inch 3d smart-TV. 65cents is nothing. If you're talking about a $1 photo order- 65cents is over half the order.

    It would also depend on how the privacy being invaded- are they just keeping a log of everything you buy- selling your information to third parties- posting what you buy to facebook.

    Also- how much do the "privacy sensitive" companies really respect your privacy? How much do you trust them. I don't trust anyone online- I just assume everyone is going to share what I give them. Sad... but that's the truth.

    How much does Privacy matter to me? Well- I refuse to shop at Tiger Direct ever since they asked me for my Soc Sec Nbr. Simply none of their business. Will never go back to them no matter how cheap they are- there is no legitimate reason they should have asked for it.

    • by vlm ( 69642 )

      Well- I refuse to shop at Tiger Direct ever since they asked me for my Soc Sec Nbr. Simply none of their business. Will never go back to them no matter how cheap they are- there is no legitimate reason they should have asked for it.

      When did they start doing that? What if you tell them you're not a US citizen? I would imagine a lot of foreign college students buy parts to upgrade their PCs while living here... Ah I see where this might be going.

      • They will probably want a fax of the person's driver's license and/or passport then.

        Tigerdirect have been douches from day one - they had a miserable score at reseller-ratings until they astroturfed it nearly a decade ago. Last I checked the evidence is still there, you can go back through the ratings and see a year or two of craptastic ratings and then a short burst of activity of all positive reviews. It is ironic that they would use fake identities to promote their own business but then turn around an

      • That explains the DARPA contract for $0.65 that was let to secure the federal data bases and diplomatic cables. As far as privacy goes for any data including SSN, I think that boat sailed long ago. It depends on who is collecting the data and how much processing power they have. I would imagine that various governments have massive exclusionary data bases on people in their country as well as others. If every body else but me is in the data base, it isn't too difficult to figure out the missing data.
    • I haven't shopped at Tiger Direct in a long time, but I'd pass on any company that asked for my SSN as well.

    • by Shotgun ( 30919 )

      How does the percentage of the payout to the purchase change how much your privacy is worth? As I understand what you wrote, you'll sell your data for $0.65 if you're buying something for a dollar. But you'll want much more if you're buying something expensive. Why does the cost of the item change the worth of your personal data?

      • It depends exactly what they are selling with it- if they're selling all your personal information it doesn't. If they're selling the fact that you purchased a given item it does.

        I'd care a lot less if some company knew where a tiny portion of my income was spent than I would a large portion of my income. So I'd be much more annoyed with someone selling information on me if I purchased a large item.

      • For 10-15% off, people routinely sign up for business-specific credit cards, like your gas station card, clothing stores, similar 'membership' types like loyalty cards (not a credit card, but an ID that gets scanned for discounts). This was well known before, and the only thing this study does is re-word it poorly.

        The study did not actually measure the worth of privacy, invalidating the assumption underlying your question. People will change their behavior for a percentage off, not for a set amount.

  • by Anonymous Coward

    That 70cents you will make back in a few minutes working.
    The data they will have forever.

    • by doston ( 2372830 )

      That 70cents you will make back in a few minutes working. The data they will have forever.

      Hey, if you're building iPads, that's a week's worth of work!

  • I tend to inject random noise into any surveys I answer, so the average of all answers is "I don't exist". Flood any system with enough garbage and you render the entire system mostly useless.
    • by vlm ( 69642 )

      I tend to inject random noise into any surveys I answer, so the average of all answers is "I don't exist".

      Flood any system with enough garbage and you render the entire system mostly useless.

      I'm told this doesn't work anymore. So, on tree-lined Slashdot Lane, we've got the docs on everyone in every house except vlm's house. Hmm. We also have some clown filling out every random blasted value that exists for his income. Hmm. We still don't have his real income, but we can assign all those random transactions to vlm, then make some educated guesses based on dollar value of transactions vs stored data from his neighbors, to estimate... blah blah.

      Also I know for a fact, from previous experience

      • Which of course begs the next question which is "who cares"...

        Anyone digging into my life will only have themselves to blame when they recoil in horror and can't sleep at night...

        My warning to anyone asking me any meaningful questions about myself always amounts to "I'd be happy to tell you, but once I do, I can't untell you."
        Most people stop asking at that point.
        • Which of course begs the next question which is "who cares"...

          Oh, you'd be bloody surprised [].

          Even if they can parse your "randomness" and correlate what other things "random purchasers" buy, they can find ways to target you directly, and possibly without making it appear as though they're targeting you.

          The whole "anything you say and and will be used against you" thing can apply to far more than you think...

          • by Shotgun ( 30919 )

            If the companies that have something I like can find me and tell me about it, what exactly is the harm done?
            If companies that don't have anything I like leave me the hell alone, because they don't want to waste their advertising budget irritating people, what exactly is the harm done?
            Having the government sniffing up everyone's skirt, trying to enforce one fine or another is a different matter, but that is more an argument to reduce government intrusion that for this whole "I'VE GOT TO HIDE!!" mentality.

            I g

            • I could prattle on all day. Yes targeted advertising is nice, but there's a line past which it becomes intrusive. We are hiding from all the things that could go wrong, not what could go right.

              Worst case, I shop for myself locally and shop online for presents because friends and family are not in my city. Even 20 minutes away, it's easier to have Amazon ship it directly. So Amazon has a really strange idea of what I like. It does not do a good job making suggestions for gifts for other people because

  • buy goods should not risk my privacy. I detest going into a Best Buy or Sears or any where else that has to ask for a phone number or zip code, and when I say no, I'm told, well it's the only way we can refund you if there is an issue with a product. And I immediately call Shenanigans, and they sheepishly admit that they don't need the info.

    It's bad enough that my info is being sold to advertisers when I purchase on line due to some cookie on the browser page. My purchase no matter where I make i

    • Feels like the long con in a confidence game, no? Fight fire with fire is my response. I wonder how many solicitors call the lottery asking for Buddy Revell []... or how many tons of mailers never reach my address in the middle of the park... Fuck em, they want info so bad I'll give em all the mis-info they deserve.
      My CAPTCHA is 'Spite', lulZ.

    • buy goods should not risk my privacy. I detest going into a Best Buy or Sears or any where else that has to ask for a phone number or zip code, and when I say no, I'm told, well it's the only way we can refund you if there is an issue with a product. And I immediately call Shenanigans, and they sheepishly admit that they don't need the info.

      Interestingly, such shenanigans are illegal where I live both by deceptive sales laws and by privacy laws (if I say no when they ask for the data, they are required to drop it but not have that impact the level of service). I consistently respond to "and may I have your phone number/postal code/etc" with "no thank you." Once, when the laws had just been passed, I had someone tell me that their till wouldn't let them complete the transaction without the information; I told them it must be able to, or their

  • What the article failed to tell you was that immediately after the test participants made their online product selection from the appropriate vendor, they 'shared' their conquest on Facebook.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday March 14, 2012 @03:22PM (#39356475)

    A lot of it is that people for a long time didn't care about if a shop had a lot of info about them. However, with the fact that one can be denied a job, and scored on how employable they are due to their private writings, people are wising up to the fact that knowledge is power, and that clicking the "like" when someone shares a joke about "press 1 for English" can mean no job for seven years, that privacy might be useful.

    It may be too late for most people though.

  • People have shared their data for years with all sorts of retail stores, beginning with the supermarkets. Of course the value of the savings at a supermarket far exceeds the savings mentioned in the summary (TFA is not loading for me). We run a loyalty program at my hardware store and occasionally a customer balks at providing their name and address to us to receive the special sale price or daily deal. It's pretty rare lately, I think people are resigned to the fact that stores are capturing their data a

    • I, like a number of other posters, find it difficult to get my panties in a twist about how the mass marketers are going to work out purchasing tampons, Depends and prenatal vitamins on one debit card. Sucks to be them, I suppose.


  • Isn't it easier to just live in a world where you assume everyone knows everything about you???

    That's mostly how I live my life.
    • Really?
      You either have very limited personal assets, or you have a very limited definition of "everything."

      I generally live my life assuming that for the most part, any information I provide someone will be captured, analysed, stored and sold.

      Thus, I live my life being very careful about who knows what about me. It's not that much work, and means that it's less likely that people will know things about me that should have no impact on our relationship.

      • You said essentially the same thing as gp post. The only differences are

        1) You seem to assume that anything you don't explicitly give out won't be associated or discerned by what you did give
        2) You said you try to be careful, on which gp did not take a position

        Being careful should also go hand in hand with not making assumptions without something to go on, making these incompatible.

        You can still live your life assuming that everyone knows everything about you, and also be careful about who you tell. Telli

    • I know what you did last summer.

  • Most people are knuckle-dragging, mouth-breathing idiots. More on this shocking story at 11.

  • 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.

  • by CanHasDIY ( 1672858 ) on Wednesday March 14, 2012 @03:33PM (#39356615) Homepage Journal
    Not what I would call a representative sample.

    Makes me wonder... was the research conducted like so many political polls in the U.S., in which the controllers deliberately limit their sample to groups who will give them the desired result?
    • by Anonymous Coward

      If I remember my statistics class correctly, the error margin does not depend on the sampling rate, it depends on the absolute size of the sample. Most polls are conducted with ~1000 people which provides a 3% error margin with a 95% confidence interval on a binary distribution.

  • by PPH ( 736903 ) on Wednesday March 14, 2012 @03:33PM (#39356625)

    ... I'll give them CowboyNeal's government ID number.

    • by vlm ( 69642 )

      ... I'll give them CowboyNeal's government ID number.

      I'm curious how they verified it, assuming they did verify it. I've been known to lie to salespeople... after all its their paid job to lie to me...

      As corporations demand more and more data from customers, how do they know they got the correct data? Whats my minor sons US passport number? What is your blood type? Whats my great grandmas former address in 1953? Please write the complete genetic code of your 13th chromosome in this tiny little box. Are you wearing boxers, briefs, thong, something sheer

      • by PPH ( 736903 )

        Good question. I keep a list (secured on a PDA) of all my passwords and answers to security questions. Not all the answers are the same. Nor are most of them correct.

        The whole 'mothers maiden name' is just saved so that, should additional identity verification be needed, you'll provide them with the same answer as you gave when you applied. So people who actually research my life to steal my identity will get the answer wrong.

        Outside of government, employers and financial institutions who have a legal rig

  • 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?
    • Re:Third Option (Score:4, Informative)

      by retroworks ( 652802 ) on Wednesday March 14, 2012 @03:49PM (#39356803) Homepage Journal

      FTA "Note: In order to protect their personal data, some individuals who are concerned with their privacy strategically invalidate their personal identifies by disclosing bogus information. They have an incentive do do so given that the detection probability is low and the consequences of such information disclosure are not negative"...."Information disclosed by participants is not checked for accuracy. In particular, where individuals are asked for sensitive perrsonal data that cannot be verified, results could be biased".

      In the accompanying footnote, "In Germany, almost every fourth internet user stated that h/she has given false information on the internet in the past".

      • by vlm ( 69642 )

        In the accompanying footnote, "In Germany, almost every fourth internet user stated that h/she has given false information on the internet in the past".

        False information ... to who?

        On the internet, the men are men, the women are also men (at least they used to be), and the lonely highschool cheerleaders / "bi-curious" boys are FBI agents running a sting operation.

        Looking at it from that perspective is insightful.

  • Well I just tried to buy a Minecraft license online. I went through their payment page, put in my name and credit card info and got declined because their payment processor, Moneybookers, said I needed to sign up for an account and scan my drivers license and send it to them.

    I kinda would have liked to have played the full version of Minecraft but I am sure as hell not giving out that kind of information for it.

    • Comply, then drive 250 MPH in a school zone (preferably on a non-school day), then move, then dye your hair, put in colored contacts, break both legs and separate the bones by half an inch and let it fill in. And legally change your name.

      Then, only your age will be valid, and you can solve that through clever use of relativity. Exercise left to the reader.

      See? It's not that invasive.

  • A threshold value is not a good measure of a non-normal distribution, and consumer estimated value is a poor measure of the value of privacy foregone.

    In a non-normal distribution, a threshold value, like the median, can be very misleading. This case shows that most people do not perceive the value of transaction privacy as being greater than $0.65, but if the people who think it is worth more than $0.65 think it is worth significantly more, then the $0.65 is significantly below the mean perceived value. Due

    • I'll add that it is not $0.65, but half a Euro. If the experiment were done in USD, 50 cents would likely be the answer, or 0.7643 Euro (the most recent conversion). It's a nice, round number, and at the amounts they were studying people are unlikely to do percentages in their heads to find an exact number of cents.

      I already ranted about this bit above, but since yours is such a good post, I figured this might be a better place to leave it.

  • by Skapare ( 16644 ) on Wednesday March 14, 2012 @04:25PM (#39357257) Homepage

    ... instead, this is the value of some big corporation's PROMISE of privacy.

  • The average CONSUMER is worth around 65 cents!

  • I don't want to live on this planet anymore.

  • Privacy should be free, and anyone forcing customers to pay for sufficient privacy are running an illegal operation. As said at [], "Privacy is a fundamental human right recognized in the UN Declaration of Human Rights, the International Convenant on Civil and Political Rights and in many other international and regional treaties." I know that $0.65 sounds cheap, but I'd be willing to sue anyone who requires me to pay for (any of) my human rights.
  • I would argue that $0.60 is the value people ascribe to the _promise_ that their privacy will be protected. How many times have we seen those who have made such promises fail to keep them - either by accident, attack or incompetence? Enough to make most other such promises seem pretty close to worthless.

... though his invention worked superbly -- his theory was a crock of sewage from beginning to end. -- Vernor Vinge, "The Peace War"