Exploring the Iceberg: The Economic Impact of Privacy Policy, Laws, and Regulations on Commercial Activity

The Conference Board of Canada, 60 pages, February 2012
Report by Michael Burt, Erin Butler, Michael Grant
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There are concerns about the privacy implications of the rising torrent of data that lubricates the economy. This report considers the economic impacts of commercial privacy policy, laws, and regulations on Canadian economy.

Document Highlights

We live in the age of data: information has transcended oil as the lubricant of the modern economy. Every year, the flow of personal and transactional data increases exponentially, propelled by the rapid rise of the Internet—the central driver of our technology-fuelled, innovation-rewarding, knowledge economy.

This has raised concerns among privacy advocates and regulators about the privacy implications of the data flow, especially via the Internet. However, a legal approach to privacy issues needs to be complemented by economic and business perspectives that take into account the growing significance of data flow and privacy to the Canadian economy. Using a combination of data analysis, economic modelling and estimation techniques, and in-depth interviews, this report looks at the economic costs, benefits, and impact of privacy policy, laws, and regulation on consumers, firms, and the Canadian economy.

Table of Contents

Executive Summary

Chapter 1—Introduction

Context

Chapter 2—Approach

  • Method
  • Concepts
  • The Cost/Benefit Iceberg
  • Privacy Governance: Why We Regulate Privacy

Chapter 3—Data and Today’s Economy

  • Data in the Economy
  • Data in Media
  • Data in Society

Chapter 4—Estimating Impacts

  • The Benefits of Privacy Protection to Consumers
  • The Benefits of Privacy Protection to Businesses
  • Enumerating the Costs
  • Modelling Approach to Costs
  • Regulatory Item Approach to Costs
  • Functional Approach to Costs

Chapter 5—Future Directions

  • Privacy Governance Performance
  • Future Directions for Privacy Regulation
  • Implications for Future Reform

Appendix A—Bibliography

Appendix B—Industry Sensitivity Results

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