Don Marti

Wed 09 Jul 2014 04:42:08 AM PDT

Paying for privacy

Here's a survey on online privacy that addresses the question of If users value privacy so much, why won't they pay for it?

Beliefs and Behaviors: Internet Users’ Understanding of Behavioral Advertising (PDF) by Aleecia M. McDonald and Lorrie Faith Cranor. (via Frederik Borgesius)

A majority of users surveyed agree with...

Privacy is a right and it is wrong to be asked to pay to keep companies from invading my privacy


Companies asking me to pay for them not to collect data is extortion

It's an oversimplification to say that if users won't pay for something, they don't want it.

One might expect that participants who highly value privacy would disagree, and would think it is worth paying for privacy even if they also believe they should not have to do so, but only 5% did. Distrust of the advertising industry, or perhaps of actors on the Internet as a whole, is another reason people may not be willing to pay for online privacy with just over a majority agreeing or strongly agreeing that data will be collected even if they pay companies not to collect data.

If one side sees some action as a good in a market, but the other side sees it as just complying with a norm, then no sale. A non-Internet example was telemarketing in the USA. Before the launch of the Do Not Call registry, sales of anti-telemarketer products were low. But at launch, Do Not call got ten million phone numbers in four days.

More: Conventional wisdom on privacy