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TRUTH ON THE MARKET

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Geoffrey Manne To Speak on Privacy at Silicon Flatirons PDF Print E-mail

Information privacy represents one of the most exciting, rapidly growing areas of legal scholarship, yet information privacy law scholars rarely express any faith in market principles. Government regulators seem a bit more conflicted, with recent pronouncements from the Commerce Department, FTC, and Congress premised largely on market-based, notice-and-choice principles, but emphasizing the limits of markets.

This Friday, Silicon Flatirons Center for Law, Technology, and Entrepreneurship at the University of Colorado will host representatives from these three institutions to debate the Economics of Privacy. Joining them will be an interdisciplinary group of leading thinkers from other disciplines, such as economists studying the behavioral economics of privacy and computer scientists who specialize in human-computer interaction studying the limits of notice-and-choice. Executive Director Geoffrey Manne has been invited as one of these guests and will explore the markets of privacy, explaining the advantages of relying on market forces, self-regulation, and FTC’s existing enforcement mechanisms to protect privacy in the 21st century.

 
New Empirical Report Erodes Support for Claims of Google's Search Bias PDF Print E-mail

A new report titled "Defining and Measuring Search Bias: Some Preliminary Evidence" has just been released.

Google has been the subject of persistent claims that its organic search results are improperly “biased” toward its own content. Among the most influential is an empirical study released earlier this year by Benjamin Edelman and Benjamin Lockwood, claiming that Google favors its own content “significantly more than others.” The authors conclude in their study that Google’s search results are problematic and deserving of antitrust scrutiny because of competitive harm.

A new report released by the International Center for Law & Economics and authored by Joshua Wright, Professor of Law and Economics at George Mason University, critiques, replicates, and extends the study, finding Edelman & Lockwood’s claim of Google’s unique bias inaccurate and misleading. Although frequently cited for it, the Edelman & Lockwod study fails to support any claim of consumer harm -- or call for antitrust action -- arising from Google’s practices.

Prof. Wright’s analysis finds own-content bias is actually an infrequent phenomenon, and Google references its own content more favorably than other search engines far less frequently than does Bing:

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