June 12, 2014

Choosing privacy: How to improve the market for personal data

CPB: Personal data market could do better

Press release
More freedom of choice for citizens and businesses about the use of personal data would stimulate the innovative use of such data and give people more room to determine their desired level of privacy.

This is the conclusion by CPB researchers Michiel Bijlsma, Bas Straathof and Gijsbert Zwart, in the CPB Policy Brief 'Choosing privacy: How to improve the market for personal data', published today.

Personal data increasingly more often are being used for economic purposes. This leads to both advantages and disadvantages. The authors argue in favour of the parties involved weighing these advantages and disadvantages for themselves. This requires a market for user rights to personal data in order to achieve closer collaboration between citizens and businesses. However, such a market cannot function properly, in actual practice, without government policy. For example, because it is difficult for individuals to check on how companies use their personal data, or because drawing up specific privacy agreements between companies and individual customers is expensive.

The researchers, therefore, present a number of policy options for improving the functioning of the market (also the European market) for user rights to personal data. This includes preconditions related to the right to delete personal data, clarity about the possibilities for using personal data without prior consent, European supervision, certification, and technology that would provide citizens with more control over their own personal information.

This CPB Policy Brief was presented during the CPB Lecture 2014, which this year was delivered by Professor Susan Athey.

Spokesmen

Edwin van de Haar Read more
Dick Morks +31 6 51681611 Read more

Read the accompanying press release.

Weighing the pros and cons, therefore, is something that can best be done by the parties involved. Innovative use of personal data is stimulated by an increased freedom of choice for citizens and businesses, with people determining their own level of privacy. Having a market for the user rights of personal data allows citizens and businesses to make these choices.

Without government policy, the market for personal data cannot function properly in practice. For example, it is difficult to monitor how businesses use data, and drafting tailor-made privacy agreements between businesses and customers is costly. Enhancing trust is an important objective of the Dutch Cabinet. The work by the supervisory body, the Dutch Data Protection Authority (College Bescherming Persoonsgegevens, CBP), is crucial in this respect. However, in addition to trust, this also requires sufficient scope for making various choices and for entrepreneurship. This policy brief considers a number of related policy options. These options concern the right to erasure, the specifications of privacy agreements, use of personal data without permission, European supervision, certification, and technology that provides citizens with more control over their personal data.

This CPB Policy Brief was presented during the CPB Lecture 2014, which this year was delivered by Professor Susan Athey. A small book 'Information, Privacy and the Internet. An Economic Perspective' was distributed to the invited guests. You can download it here below.

Contacts

Michiel Bijlsma Read more
Bas Straathof Read more
Gijsbert Zwart Read more