George Mason University Antonin Scalia Law School

New Publication: COPPAcalypse? The Youtube Settlement’s Impact on Kids Content

New research from James Cooper, Garrett Johnson, Tesary Lin, and  Liang Zhong uses YouTube’s settlement with the Federal Trade Commission over allegations that it violated the Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act (COPPA) as a natural experiment to evaluate the impact of eliminating personalization— including tailored ads and platform features like personalized search and content recommendations—on made-for-kids content.  The study of  5,066 top American YouTube channels from 2018-2020 finds that child-directed content creators produce 13% less content and pivot towards producing non-child-directed content. On the demand side, views of child-directed channels fall by 22%. Consistent with the platform’s degraded capacity to match viewers to content, the study finds that content creation and content views become more concentrated among top child-directed YouTube channels.  Read the full study here.

PEP files comment in response to the FTC’s Advance Notice of Proposed Rulemaking

Last week the LEC’s Program on Economics & Privacy (PEP), along with University of Arizona’s TechLaw, filed a comment in response to the Federal Trade Commission’s (FTC) Advance Notice of Proposed Rulemaking on “Commercial Surveillance and Data Security.”

The Comment urges the FTC to refrain from issuing a proposed Commercial Surveillance rule. After describing the available empirical evidence—which shows the tremendous consumer value generated by the online ad-supported ecosystem and little reason to believe that consumers suffer widespread harm from the routine collection and use of data in the online commercial context—the Comment concludes that departure from the FTC’s current case-by-case application of Section 5, in favor of broad prohibitions on the collection and use of data, is likely to do more harm than good.

You can view the full joint comment here.

(Video) Research Paper Summary: Effects of Conferring Business Resource on Rivals

In this video, Dr. Jamison summarizes his working paper “Effects of Conferring Business Resource on Rivals,” presented at the Research Roundtable on the Data-Competition Interface hosted by the Law & Economics Center’s Program on Economics & Privacy on March 31, 2022, at the Antonin Scalia Law School in Arlington, VA.

Dr. Mark Jamison is the Director and Gerald Gunter Professor of the Public Utility Research Center (PURC), and Director of the Digital Markets Initiative (DMI) at the University of Florida.

Call for Papers: Research Roundtable on “Regulating Privacy”

The Program on Economics & Privacy (PEP) at George Mason University Antonin Scalia Law School invites applications for the Research Roundtable on Regulating Privacy.  In the past year, Congress has considered sweeping national privacy legislation, and the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) has begun the process to implement rulemaking to curtail so-called “commercial surveillance.”  Accordingly, we seek authors to develop and present original scholarly work that focuses broadly on the proper scope of privacy regulation, including the need for such regulation, the costs and benefits of such regulation, and the legal issues presented by such regulation.  Issues of interest include, but are not limited to: 

Continue reading “Call for Papers: Research Roundtable on “Regulating Privacy””