While at least one startup is banking on consumers wanting to use their personal information as "virtual currency that can be traded," making personal information a commodity poses challenges, Steve Lohr writes in The New York Times. According to M. Ryan Calo of Stanford Law School, "There is no way to know in advance what the value of this information is." Citing last year's "What Is Privacy Worth?" study by three Carnegie Mellon researchers, Lohr points out that the value of privacy is shaped by people's expectations, as summed up by Alessandro Acquisti, one of the study's authors, who notes, "When you have privacy, you value it more, but when the starting point is that we feel we don't have privacy, we value privacy far less." (Registration may be required to access this story.)
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