The Ethics and Policy of Personal Data Exchanges
big data analytics
personally identifiable information
Antitrust and Trade Regulation
Ethics and Political Philosophy
Law and Economics
Law and Philosophy
This thesis explores the impact of personal-data-driven profit-making strategies on consumer rights and democratic institutions. The lag in regulatory efforts in fast-growing fields, such as big data analytics and machine learning, has enabled unprecedented access to control over individual consumers and social processes. The resulting power asymmetry characterizing the relationship of corporate persons to private clients poses a threat to privacy and democracy. This thesis assesses existing and emerging approaches to protecting personal data privacy, engages with the question of imposing moral duties toward customers on private sector enterprises, and proposes systems to strengthen regulatory measures. The urgent need for multifaceted policy reform is highlighted, drawing from interdisciplinary expertise ranging from technology policy and business ethics to law and behavioral economics. This synthesis proposes paths forward by combining approaches to privacy ranging from enhanced consumer protection requirements to antitrust law.