Uninformed Consent

Leslie K. John at Harvard Business Review: “…People are bad at making decisions about their private data. They misunderstand both costs and benefits. Moreover, natural human biases interfere with their judgment. And whether by design or accident, major platform companies and data aggregators have structured their products and services to exploit those biases, often in subtle ways.

Impatience. People tend to overvalue immediate costs and benefits and underweight those that will occur in the future. They want $9 today rather than $10 tomorrow. On the internet, this tendency manifests itself in a willingness to reveal personal information for trivial rewards. Free quizzes and surveys are prime examples. …

The endowment effect. In theory people should be willing to pay the same amount to buy a good as they’d demand when selling it. In reality, people typically value a goodless when they have to buy it. A similar dynamic can be seen when people make decisions about privacy….

Illusion of control. People share a misapprehension that they can control chance processes. This explains why, for example, study subjects valued lottery tickets that they had personally selected more than tickets that had been randomly handed to them. People also confuse the superficial trappings of control with real control….

Desire for disclosure. This is not a decision-making bias. Rather, humans have what appears to be an innate desire, or even need, to share with others. After all, that’s how we forge relationships — and we’re inherently social creatures…

False sense of boundaries. In off-line contexts, people naturally understand and comply with social norms about discretion and interpersonal communication. Though we may be tempted to gossip about someone, the norm “don’t talk behind people’s backs” usually checks that urge. Most of us would never tell a trusted confidant our secrets when others are within earshot. And people’s reactions in the moment can make us quickly scale back if we disclose something inappropriate….(More)”.