Grant / January 2020

(Im)balances of Power in the Age of Personal Data

Emerging technologies that record and analyze our purchases and behaviors are fueling new business models and supporting valuable products, but also eroding our expectations of privacy. To assess the true cost of personal data collection, we must look beyond individual decisions to the cumulative impact of many citizens on technology and institutions. This initiative examines the role of citizens as a whole, especially in relation to governments and corporations. Applying a combination of game theoretic modeling and behavioral studies, we seek to measure how individual privacy choices enable or prevent specific abuses of power. Our methods are aimed at immediate trends in data collection, as well as long-term scenarios. The ultimate deliverable for the project will be a report outlining possible structures that personal data exchange markets may take 30 years into the future. By looking so far into the future, we hope to bring a new perspective on technological practices and policy decisions.