Media Law Prof Blog

Editor: Christine A. Corcos
Louisiana State Univ.

Tuesday, July 19, 2016

Hoofnagle @hoofnagle on US Regulatory Values and Privacy Consequences: Implications for the European Citizen

Chris Jay Hoofnagle, University of California, Berkeley, School of Information Science; University of California, Berkeley, School of Law, has published US Regulatory Values and Privacy Consequences: Implications for the European Citizen at 2 European Data Protection Law Review 169 (2016). Here is the abstract.

Europeans face a regulatory challenge: how can the human rights and dignitary values that animate data protection law be protected in transborder data flows? With the proposal of the EU-US Privacy Shield, part of the challenge will be answered by the US Federal Trade Commission (FTC). The FTC is a small but powerful US agency established in 1914 to address problems of monopoly and trust. Shortly after its creation, the FTC turned its attention to consumer issues. Over the years, Congress has repeatedly empowered the FTC, and the agency has accomplished much on privacy matters. In a recent book, I recount the FTC’s privacy successes. But this article focuses on the limits of the FTC’s powers. The American business community has eschewed dignity as a privacy value in favor of economistic conceptions of privacy interests. This article explains how the FTC’s focus on economic liberty constrains how it can protect Europeans’ normative interests in privacy. First, this article recounts why the FTC has to find economic pretenses to extend its reach to normative, dignity-based affronts to personality. The article then discusses the structural limits of the FTC and how these limits constrain privacy enforcement. The article concludes with a discussion of instruments that could bridge the gap between the FTC’s economistic conceptions and the values Europeans place in data protection.

Download the article from SSRN at the link.

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