The calculus of consumer privacy

Date of publication: September 19, 2004


This paper provides the 'algebra of the consumer's mind' regarding what the consumer wants different types of professionals and companies to know about them. We look at the relevance of different insights, seeing how each is appropriate to a variety of different businesses with which the consumer interacts, ranging from personal services (physician, lawyer) to financial services (banks, brokers) to the trade (local pharmacy, large scale department stores) and even to casual business encounters (e.g., video rental store). The large scale study identifies the relevance of different types of consumer insights, from the consumer viewpoint, establishing which types of information are thought to be freely shared, and which are held back by the individual. We then look at a more microscopic view of privacy, focusing on the consumer research business, specifically the types of interviews in which a consumer might participate, and the nature of privacy in each.

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