Frederik J Zuiderveen Borgesius, ‘Informed Consent: We Can Do Better to Defend Privacy’

We need to rethink our approach to defend privacy on the internet. Currently, policymakers focus heavily on the idea of informed consent as a means to defend privacy. For instance, in many countries the law requires firms to obtain an individual’s consent before they use data about her; with such informed consent requirements, the law aims to empower people to make privacy choices in their best interests. But behavioural studies cast doubt on this approach’s effectiveness, as people tend to click OK to almost any request they see on their screens. To improve privacy protection, this article argues for a combined approach of protecting and empowering the individual.

This article, based on the author’s PhD thesis, discusses practical problems with informed consent as a means to protect privacy, and illustrates the problems with current data privacy rules regarding behavioural targeting. First, the privacy problems of behavioural targeting, and the central role of informed consent in privacy law are discussed. Following that, practical problems with informed consent are highlighted. Then, the article argues that policymakers should give more attention to rules that protect, rather than empower, people.

Zuiderveen Borgesius, Frederik J, Informed Consent: We Can Do Better to Defend Privacy (March 1, 2015). IEEE  Volume 13, Issue 2, p 103-107.

First posted 2016-06-14 06:09:16

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