Privacy sentences to ponder

Significantly, 86% of respondents express no willingness to pay for additional privacy when interacting with Google. Among the remaining 14%, the average expressed willingness to pay is low.

That is from a new paper by Caleb S. Fuller, via the excellent Kevin Lewis.


OK, let's say you don't trust X.

Would you pay X to treat you with more privacy?

Seems to me you want to buy or build a solution outside X to achieve your security.

You are perhaps right that some people recognize that Google wouldn't be the best party to give them more privacy, but I'm not sure that most people who aren't technically savvy actually distrust Google. For the most part, people just aren't that concerned about their privacy; especially the younger one. Heck, I've been a software engineer for 30 year and I don't care that much.

The vast majority are boring and average from the eyes of big data.

I meant to say "The vast majority of us .."

I certainly don't exclude myself, as I join 28M other people watching "bear sits next to guy."

is it really privacy?
if you have pay extra!
tomorrow biscuits! unbelievable!

GDPR is a classic example. Ever since it was implemented, most of the requests I've seen is from other companies who try to use GDPR as a cheap method to clean up old data...

"additional" privacy? There's none to begin with, with Google. And if I offer to pay money for privacy would I not be signalling that my private information is especially valuable?

Residency requirements in the global Potemkin village, tsk. (Such sturdy virtual facades behind which to hide.)

They already have this option: choose Apple over Google.

The problem is, all of Apple’s services and AI capability are far behind Google’s. Why? Primarily due to Apple’s (in my view) overly-stringent view of personal privacy.

Apple tracks you too. E.g., Settings --> [Apple's] Podcasts [App] --> Identifier.

Apple is doing significant things for privacy on their their platforms. But there is no reason to think once they control the gates to all your data, they won't then seek to monetize it for themselves. In fact, it's genius. They are going to eat Google's lunch. literally.

Switch Google to Facebook and see what happens. You can't hope to study a market from one firm.

When put in terms of "willingness to pay", it comes off as an extortion racket. Hardly anybody ever even asked for Google to exist, but once it did, network effects took hold. Once those effects took hold, they provided a golden opportunity for extortion. I.e. there's no valid reason in the world why anybody should willingly pay even a nickel to keep Google off their back, if that's how they feel about Google.

Network effects always cause trouble. Even folks who might dislike Google intensely may no longer be free to disconnect from it without also disconnecting from friends, family, and associates. True freedom of choice about the matter simply does not exist for them. Indeed, it's rather like when certain economists glibly tell folks who don't like some aspect or other of oh-so-glorious "technology" to go live isolated in Idaho or somewhere. That's just not usually a real choice.

So look for plenty more government intervention in the future. Much of it will probably have far worse side-effects than GDPR. But alas, ordinary folks utterly lack countervailing power except for what little they can exert through governments, so there it is.

Oh, well; as the French say, c'est la vie.

I now use Duck Duck Go which purportedly tracks no one's searches. I use Google only when necessary. DDG is clearly inferior to Google, hence there is some monetary cost to my choice. I have no idea what that cost is. But the ability to use some private alternative search engines would seem to lower WTP close to zero.

Google could have easily offered a for-pay non-tracked search engine to subscribers. I already pay them a few bucks a month for Google Drive.

I think it might be inferior for certain searches, but I find DuckDuckGo superior to G when it comes to image searches.

A better test would be to offer customers a paid + private vs a free + sell-your-data version of the same product and then observe interaction with both versions of that product. We'd need to analyze not just initial product uptake, but also utilization over time, as well as patterns of use among people who take both products and use them each a little differently.

But to just ask people if they'd pay for a product they already use a lot, and for free, doesn't tell us hardly anything.

Raising serious questions about the WTP methodology to begin with. Talk is cheap.

The real question is what Google is willing to accept.

Duck duck go literally exists. And is free.

People don’t value their privacy enough to use an almost equivalent also free service. Let alone pay for one.

Re: "literally exists"

If I may humbly offer a word to the wise: No one is ever going to take you seriously if you use language like this. Your career and personal relationships will all improve if you make a slight pivot toward more eloquent language.

Isn't this essentially asking how much these services are worth to people?

Yes. Maximum willingness to pay. For obvious reasons people are reluctant to report their true WTP.

By the way, it's been a while since I mentioned it, but a good book on what "we" are learning from all this data:

That people have become acclimated to something doesn’t make it right. Russians look back on Stalin with fondness.

But suppose the question was a bit different?

"In five years it will be possible for your boss to buy a report from Google for $50 that will give him a deep psychological profile of you including the health of the relationships with your family and friends, probability estimates that you'll suffer a serious mental illness in the next decade, analysis of whether you might be showing signs of early dementia based on how fast you type, move the mouse around web pages and click. For a one time payment of $25 you can make this report private and unavailable to anyone without Google first getting your consent. Would you consider paying it?"

I suspect a very large portion of the population would. Now times how many billion are on Google directly or indirectly.

That would involve either a greater than 50% subjective probability that you boss will ever buy such a report, or a great degree of risk aversion. The people most likely to pay would be, all else equal, the ones with qualities worth hiding. Expected effects come into play.

Then of course there are all the litigation costs when people discover tangible employment actions from unreliable data.

Given this question, I think almost all people's answers would be no. Most employers even fail to check references.

Don’t assume it has to be just your boss. Say anyone can buy that report about you who wants too pay google

I very much doubt that Google would want to ruin their brand with users by offering such an option to employers. Who would use their services if they sold this data in such an unethical way? Everyone would quickly move to one of the very many alternatives. But let's say they did provide this service - it is going to make the good people much more valuable. Employers very much have a lemon problem - they don't know for sure who their best and worst employees are, so the pay less overall for their employees than they would do otherwise. With better sorting you would be able to pay more. Sort of like if insurance companies knew exactly what your risk profile is, premiums would be lower.

1. Such a 'service' need not be offered specifically to employers but to anyone willing to pay for it, must like credit reporting agencies. Do you boycott credit cards because they report your payment history and maybe a boss can get a peek at that.

2. The point isn't whether Google would ever offer this exact service but to illustrate the survey is misleading. Just because people said they wouldn't pay a premium to protect their privacy doesn't mean they put a value of zero on it. More than likely it simply means any particular piece of data is of such little value it isn't worth shielding to the individual but collectively it adds up.

Ask people how much Google would need to pay them to give up privacy and perhaps you might get a different answer?

Why pay when Googles getting smashed into a thousand pieces anyway within 15 years. Big Tech has pissed off the activist left and right the neoliberal toady center can only hold so long in those conditions.

If offered the choice between a "free" Google and Facebook, and a Google and Facebook that isn't "free", 86% chose "free". If offered the choice between a Boeing 737 that is older and less efficient, and the new 737 Max that is new and safer because it has self-driving capabilities, 100% chose the new Max.

Google gives away the anonymous browser configuration.

We have the opposite problem, I would buy a lot of blog posts for one or two pennies, but I need a secure mouse to click pennies at zero transaction costs. Someone tell the geeks to make a penny clicker.

I'm not willing to pay Google for oxygen, but that doesn't mean I'm okay with Google depriving me of it.

How much is Google maps with to you? How useful is it, and how much would you pay for it? Remember that is usefulness is largely due from analysis of all the users travel paths, time of day travel, etc. Instead of large dataset analysis coming up with routes,etc, some other methods that are far more costly and less effective would be used.

Same with voice recognition, the useful photo enhancements and indexing, etc. Many of these features come from massive datasets of user data being analyzed.

I pray i think $15 per month per user for Google apps for business which means the data isn't put in the analysis pot.

I don't understand this, there are a bunch of ways to surf the internet without Google, there are a bunch of email providers, and so on. Why would you pay money to Google if you were concerned about your privacy, you would just use one of the many free alternatives instead.

You can avoid gmail and using Google for search but they are serving almost all the ads on major sites. Avoiding Amazon is probably even harder.

The respondents for the survey were unaware that Google knows who's an alcoholic, who cheats on their spouse, who is depressed, who drives erratically, and who Google sells that information to.

In order for a market to work efficiently, there needs to be adequate information about the assets on both the supply and demand sides.

This is a big portal where are are lots of queue are given and try to open one by one cool maths which would be good for you. And with this process you will take it easy.

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