Over at Forbes I have posted some thoughts on the new privacy framework (Consumer Data Privacy in a Networked World) that the Obama Administration released today. In my essay, “The Problem with Obama’s “Let’s Be More Like Europe” Privacy Plan,” I hammer home the same point I’ve made here before many times: Regulation is not a costless exercise. No matter how well-intentioned regulatory proposals may be, they can often have unforeseen, unintended consequences. This is equally true for privacy controls. I discuss how a new privacy regulatory regime could drive up prices for services that currently are free or inexpensive, limit new digital services and innovations, create barriers to entry for new entrants and entrepreneurs, negatively impact the competitiveness of existing U.S. Internet operators, and, more generally, increase the horizons of government power over the Internet.
For a more detailed analysis of these issues, I encourage you to check out my big Mercatus Center filing to the FTC last year on privacy and Do Not Track regulation. Also, here are few TLF essays that summarize my skepticism about expanded privacy controls:
- Isn’t “Do Not Track” Just a “Broadcast Flag” Mandate for Privacy?
- Privacy as an Information Control Regime: The Challenges Ahead
- Obama Admin’s “Let’s-Be-Europe” Approach to Privacy Will Undermine U.S. Competitiveness
- Lessons from the Gmail Privacy Scare of 2004
- When It Comes to Information Control, Everybody Has a Pet Issue & Everyone Will Be Disappointed
- And so the IP & Porn Wars Give Way to the Privacy & Cybersecurity Wars
- Book Review: Solove’s Understanding Privacy