When privacy harm has no economic value

History sniffing lawsuit dismissed

Recent privacy research has demonstrated the widespread collection of consumer browsing behavior by “history sniffing,” as well as by using flash cookies and ETags as tracking mechanisms. A lawsuit was dismissed in New York State when the plaintiff attempted a class action against history sniffing. The judge Deborah Batts ruled “Advertising on the Internet is no different from advertising on television or in newspapers … Even if [Sonal Bose, the plaintiff] took steps to prevent the data collection, her injury is still insufficient to meet the statutory threshold.”

If collecting data without an individual’s consent causes a privacy harm, but that harm has no calculated economic value, then what has to change in order for laws to recognize data trespass as a legitimate harm?

About Cathy Dwyer 4 Articles
Assoc. Prof. Information Technology Seidenberg School of Computer Science & Information Systems Pace University Twitter: ProfCDwyer