By mid-2012, the very nature of the digital economy was in the midst of a tectonic shift. A dominant business model for online companies was to provide free service to users in return for their information, which was used to attract advertisers, app makers and other business opportunities.
In meantime, the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) started increasing the pace and scope of its actions. It initiated swift action against some of the biggest social media companies and internet companies, including Facebook, Twitter, and Google, and recommended baseline privacy legislation and more stringent industry self-regulation.
The FTC and other regulators face the issue of balancing protecting the privacy of individual end users without stifling innovation in one of the brightest sectors of the economy. Should the regulators step in with binding regulations or should they trust the online industry to regulate itself? What amount of intervention is the right amount?
- Understand the general state of U.S. law on consumer data privacy, particularly in the online industry, and the current practices of online companies regarding customer data.
- Explore the ethical, legal, and business issues involved in providing a mobile app service that also gathers and uses customer data.
- Be able to discuss and assess various regulatory options (baseline privacy law, sector-specific laws, industry self-regulation, or some combination of these) to address the growing collection and use of consumer data in the online industry.
Cyberlaw, Government Law, Privacy and Consumer Data Law
To obtain accessible versions of our products for use by those with disabilities, please contact the HLS Case Studies Program at firstname.lastname@example.org or +1-617-496-1316.
Registered members of this website can download this product at no cost. Please create an account or sign in to gain access to these materials.
Note: It can take up to three business days after you create an account to verify educator access. Verification will be confirmed via email.
For more information about the Problem Solving Workshop at Harvard Law School, or to request a teaching note for this case study, contact the Case Studies Program at HLSCaseStudies@law.harvard.edu or +1-617-496-1316.
Case Studies in Cyber-Citizenship
Information Law and Policy: Advanced Problem Solving Workshop
Conversation Starters: Case Studies for Curricular Reform
The Problem Solving Workshop: A Video Introduction
Please note that each purchase of this product entitles the purchaser to one download and use. If you need multiple copies, please purchase the number of copies you need. For more information, see Copying Your Case Study.