Carnegie Mellon, privacy

The behavioral science of decisions affecting privacy

Profile: Alessandro Acquisti, behavioral economist at Carnegie Mellon University in Pittsburgh (New York Times)

Often, we turn over our data in exchange for a deal we can’t refuse.

Alessandro Acquisti, a behavioral economist at Carnegie Mellon University in Pittsburgh, studies how we make these choices. In a series of provocative experiments, he has shown that despite how much we say we value our privacy — and we do, again and again — we tend to act inconsistently.

Is your personal information worth more than the price of a cup of coffee? Yes and no. (IT World)

It’s easy to be apathetic about abstract terms like “privacy,” but much harder to be so casual if some stranger asks you to, say, share your kids’ schedule and the location of their schools. This is one reason why the terms we use matter so much when talking about user privacy, and why Orwellian definitions of words like tracking, anonymity, choice and freedom are an enormous red flag that should make all of us a little jumpy.

Please read both articles if you’re interested in privacy.

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