Acknowledgments. Foreword. Executive Summary. 1. Government, Markets and Privacy in The Digital Age. 2. The Market for Commercial Information. 3. Market Failure and Consumer Harm. 4. Market Reactions to Consumer Concerns. 5. Polls, Policy and the FTC. 6. The Effects of Regulation. 7. Conclusion. Glossary. Bibliography.
Hon. Orrin G. Hatch United States Senate Electronic commerce will be pivotal to the United States economy in the 21 SI Century. With the advent ofelectronic commerce, some consumers have become concerned about the disclosure, transfer, and sale of information which businesses have collected about them. These concerns purportedly are slowing the rate ofexpansion ofelectronic commerce, thereby putting at risk the future growth of the New Economy. To reduce this risk, a variety of schemes have been proposed under which the government would regulate online privacy. Congress currently is in the midst ofa vigorous debate as to whether the government should regulate on-line privacy standards, and, ifso, what form such regulation should take. This succinct yet powerful book by Paul Rubin and Thomas Lenard goes to the heart of these issues. It explains that there is no evidence of actual consumer harm or market failure that could justify burdensome government regulation of online privacy. It describes the tremendous advantages consumers currently receive from the free flow of information collected on line, advantages which could be eliminated if the government unnecessarily regulates and stops this flow of information. It argues that the free market provides businesses with compelling incentives to adopt their own measures - such as seal programs and novel technologies - to assuage consumer privacy concerns. This book presents compelling evidence to support these and many other points central to the continuing debate in the halls of Congress and elsewhere concerningonline privacy.
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