Privacy as a right or as a commodity in the online world: the limits of regulatory reform and self-regulation

Diana Walsh, James M. Parisi, Katia Passerini

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

13 Scopus citations


The increased use of the internet and information technology to enable online transactions, distribute information and customer reviews through ecommerce and social networking sites, online advertising, and data mining is both creating efficiencies and challenging our privacy. This paper highlights the growing fear that current federal and state laws in the United States are not adequate to protect the privacy of the data collected while we process electronic transactions or browse the internet for information. The notion of efficiency and cost-benefit are used to justify a certain level of privacy loss, thus treating privacy as a commodity to be transacted rather than a right to be defended. To address developing concerns about personal privacy invasions, we discuss the role and limits that both government regulation and self-regulation play in protecting our privacy.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)185-203
Number of pages19
JournalElectronic Commerce Research
Issue number2
StatePublished - Jun 1 2017

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Economics, Econometrics and Finance (miscellaneous)
  • Human-Computer Interaction


  • Case laws
  • Efficiency
  • Federal statutes
  • Freedom of Information Act
  • Privacy
  • Regulations


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