OneTrust_GDPRCompliance_square-banner1
iapp-privacycore
GDPR16_London_Web_300x250-FRENCH-v2

Barry Schwartz, author of The Paradox of Choice: Why More is Less and professor of social therapy and social action at Swarthmore College, will be a keynote speaker at the IAPP Global Privacy Summit in March.

In advance of the event, Schwartz shared his insights into how the theme of his book—that too many choices can actually spawn inaction and dissatisfaction—relates to privacy.

Privacy Advisor: In your book, The Paradox of Choice: Why More Is Less, you explore the idea that too many choices, instead of opening opportunities, may actually drive people into inaction and dissatisfaction. Could you share an anecdote from your book or experiences illustrating this reality?

SCHWARTZ: My personal anecdotes are many. I go to a Web site to buy a digital camera. I'm not fussy; it's no big deal. All I do is take snapshots of my grandchildren. I exit 30 minutes later, deciding to keep the camera that I have. So many options and so many features. Sure, you could just ignore a lot, but then you start to feel like a bit of a fool.

"If they make cameras in so many flavors with so many features, surely I should care."

Or I go to a retail store that sells crafts made in developing countries to buy a gift. There is so much stuff in there, and each thing detracts from the others. The result is no purchase and no gift. These personal examples are trivial, and they are mere anecdotes, but they conform to lab studies showing how choice can paralyze, even when it comes to non-trivial decisions, like participating in company retirement plans, or, in the case of many of my students, deciding what to do when they graduate from college.

PA: The potential implications for overabundance of choices apply across many disciplines. What are your thoughts on the choice factor when it comes to the balancing act many describe of trading personal information for such services as online searches or social interactions?

SCHWARTZ: This is a deep question and a profound challenge. One way to "solve" the choice overload problem is by allowing online Web sites to get to "know" you and filter the options you face down to a manageable number.

But, of course, the more you take advantage of that, the more you compromise your privacy. I think the main task facing organizations that worry about Internet privacy is to figure out a "default" level of privacy that enables people to benefit from what the Web makes available and not be tortured by it. Then, it needs to figure out simple and straightforward ways for people to deviate from that default.

PA: Can you give us a preview of your keynote address at this year’s IAPP Global Privacy Summit?

I'll be talking about how too much choice produces paralysis rather than liberation, leads to bad decisions and reduces satisfaction with even good decisions. And I'll make a few suggestions about what can be done to overcome the choice problem.

Comments

If you want to comment on this post, you need to login.

Related

Board of Directors

See the esteemed group of leaders shaping the future of the IAPP.

Contact Us

Need someone to talk to? We’re here for you.

IAPP Staff

Looking for someone specific? Visit the staff directory.

Learn more about the IAPP»

Daily Dashboard

The day’s top stories from around the world

Privacy Perspectives

Where the real conversations in privacy happen

The Privacy Advisor

Original reporting and feature articles on the latest privacy developments

Privacy Tracker

Alerts and legal analysis of legislative trends

Privacy Tech

Exploring the technology of privacy

Canada Dashboard Digest

A roundup of the top Canadian privacy news

Europe Data Protection Digest

A roundup of the top European data protection news

Asia-Pacific Dashboard Digest

A roundup of the top privacy news from the Asia-Pacific region

Latin America Dashboard Digest

A roundup of the top privacy news from Latin America

IAPP Westin Research Center

Original works. Groundbreaking research. Emerging scholars.

Get more News »

IAPP Communities

Meet locally with other privacy pros, dive deep into a specialized topic or simply share a common interest, IAPP Communities are for you.

IAPP Job Board

Looking for a new challenge, or need to hire your next privacy pro? The IAPP Job Board is the answer.

Join the Privacy List

Have ideas? Need advice? Subscribe to the Privacy List. It’s crowdsourcing, with an exceptional crowd.

Find more ways to Connect »

Find a Privacy Training Class

Two-day privacy training classes are held around the world. See the complete schedule now.

NEW! Raise Staff Awareness

Equip all your data-handling staff to reduce privacy risk, with Privacy Core™ e-learning essentials.

Online Privacy Training

Build your knowledge. The privacy know-how you need is just a click away.

The Training Post—Can’t-Miss Training Updates

Subscribe now to get the latest alerts on training opportunities around the world.

Upcoming Web Conferences

See our list of upcoming web conferences. Just log on, listen in and learn!

Train Your Team

Get your team up to speed on privacy by bringing IAPP training to your organization.

Learn more »

CIPP Certification

The global standard for the go-to person for privacy laws, regulations and frameworks

CIPM Certification

The first and only privacy certification for professionals who manage day-to-day operations

CIPT Certification

The industry benchmark for IT professionals worldwide to validate their knowledge of privacy requirements

NEW! FIP Designation

Recognizing the advanced knowledge and issue-spotting skills a privacy pro must attain in today’s complex world of data privacy.

Certify Your Staff

Find out how you can bring the world’s only globally recognized privacy certification to a group in your organization.

Learn more about IAPP certification »

Get Schooled in Privacy

Looking to get some higher-ed in privacy? Check out these schools that include data privacy courses in their curricula.

Privacy Vendor List

Find a privacy vendor to meet your needs with our filterable list of global service providers.

NEW! Raise Staff Awareness

Equip all your data-handling staff to reduce privacy risk, with Privacy Core™ e-learning essentials.

The Industry of Privacy

Take stock, compare your practices to those of other organizations, and get budget with these studies on the industry of privacy.

More Resources »

Time to Get to Work at the Congress

Thought leadership, a thriving community and unrivaled education...the Congress prepares you for the challenges ahead. Register today.

GDPR Comprehensive London: Register Onsite for In-Person or Online for Virtual

Online registration for in-person attendance is now closed. For in-person, register onsite the day of. For virtual, register online throughout the programme.

Call for Speakers at Summit 2017

Are you an engaging speaker with privacy expertise to share? We want you! Submit a proposal today! The Call for Speakers closes Oct. 2, 2016.

GDPR's Top Impacts - Webcon Delivered in French

Rejoignez des experts pour en savoir plus : Les 10 conséquences pratiques les plus importantes du RGPD. S’inscrire maintenant.

Intensive Education at the Practical Privacy Series

The Series is returning to DC, this year spotlighting Data Breach, FTC and Consumer Privacy, GDPR and Government privacy issues. It’s the education you need now!

Sponsor an Event

Increase visibility for your organization—check out sponsorship opportunities today.

More Conferences »

Become a Member

Start taking advantage of the many IAPP member benefits today

Corporate Members

See our list of high-profile corporate members—and find out why you should become one, too

Renew Your Membership

Don’t miss out for a minute—continue accessing your benefits

Join the IAPP»