Anonymity, Consumers and the Internet: Where Everyone Knows You're a Dog

L. Edwards (UK)


On-line privacy, data protection, consumer confidence, e-commerce, P3P, “code as code”


Consumer choice and power is enhanced by the Internet but simultaneously consumer privacy is threatened. Privacy can be protected or “regulated” online, as Lessig theorises, by the market, norms, law or “code”. This paper argues that although none of the first three modes of protection are satisfactory, this does not mean “code” solutions such as P3P should be embraced uncritically. The true answer may be that consumers are simply prepared to sacrifice privacy on-line to embrace the correlative advantages but this choice is uninformed and does not prevent fears about privacy impacting on consumer confidence in e-commerce.

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