Paper on Behavioral Economics and Consent to Tracking Internet Use

Frederik J. Zuiderveen Borgesius of the Institute for Information Law (University of Amsterdam) has written Consent to Behavioural Targeting in European Law – What are the Policy Implications of Insights from Behavioural Economics?  Here is the abstract:

Behavioural targeting is the monitoring of people’s online behaviour to target advertisements to specific individuals. European law requires companies to obtain informed consent of the internet user before they use tracking technologies for behavioural targeting. Other jurisdictions also emphasise the importance of choice for internet users. But many people click ‘I agree’ to any statement that is presented to them. This paper discusses insights from behavioural economics to analyse problems with informed consent to behavioural targeting from a regulatory perspective. What are the policy implications of insights from behavioural economics in the context of behavioural targeting? Two approaches to improve regulation are explored. The first focuses on empowering the individual, for example by making informed consent more meaningful. The second approach focuses on protecting the individual. If aiming to empower people is not the right tactic to protect privacy, maybe specific prohibitions should be introduced.

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