What Privacy Papers Should Policymakers Be Reading?



Each year, FPF invites privacy scholars and authors interested in privacy questions to submit articles and papers to be considered by members of our Advisory Board, with an aim toward showcasing those articles that should inform any conversation about privacy among policymakers in Congress, as well as at the Federal Trade Commission and in other government agencies. For our fifth annual Privacy Papers for Policymakers, we received a record number of submissions covering topics ranging from data use in elections, government surveillance, the always-present cloud, and even the emergence of app stores for the brain.

However, in a year where the White House launched a review into the privacy implications of “Big Data,” scholars and privacy advocates were particularly focused on looking at how algorithms are changing our society – and what that means for individuals’ privacy. Our Advisory Board selected papers that addressed this challenge head-on. It also selected papers that describe how information about consumers is being collected, gathered, and used across the Internet, and what role the FTC should specifically play in policing the privacy and data security practices around those activities.

Our top privacy papers for 2014 are, in alphabetical order:

Big Data’s Disparate Impact
Solon Barocas & Andrew Selbst

Four Privacy Myths
Neil Richards

Free: Accounting for the Costs of the Internet’s Most Popular Price
Chris Jay Hoofnagle & Jan Whittington

The Scope and Potential of FTC Data Protection 
Woodrow Hartzog & Dan Solove

The Scored Society
Danielle Citron & Frank Pasquale

The Scoring of America: How Secret Consumer Scores Threaten Your Privacy and Your Future 
Pam Dixon and Robert Gellman

These papers illuminate concerns that will continue to drive privacy debates in 2015. Already in the new year, we have seen the White House push new proposals to address student privacy and identity theft. The Internet of Things has made headlines, moving from something that is coming to something that is here.

We want to thank EY for their special support of this project. And we thank the scholars, advocates, and Advisory Board members that are engaged with us to explore the future of privacy. We look forward to celebrating the formal release of FPF’s Privacy Papers for Policymakers digest at an event the evening of March 3rd, ahead of the IAPP Global Privacy Summit. If you are interested in attending, please reach to us at [email protected].