Privacy as an irrational choice: the importance of opt-in
Reprinted with permission from the weblog by Dr Jaap-Henk Hoepman:
"On Sargasso is an interesting recording of a lecture by Dan Ariely, professor of psychology and behavioural economics in the US, on irrational choices. In it, he shows a statistic on organ donations. According to this statistic, in some countries, more than 90% of the population donates their organs after death, while in other culturally similar countries, the percentage is around 10%. It appears that countries with a high percentage ask their population for consent through an opt-out form: "tick this box if you will donate your organs after your death not want to donate". Countries with a low percentage, on the contrary, use an opt-in form: "tick this box if after your death you will well want to donate your organs".
According to Ariely, we choose the default (no box ticking), not because we do not care, but because the issue is so complex that we do not know what to choose. So the way the creator of this kind of form form formulates the question largely determines the outcome.
I think privacy is just as complex an issue. Hence, public opinion on privacy depends very much on how you ask the question. And hence also why asking permission to collect personal data via opt-in or opt-out produces a totally different response. Because of the general importance of privacy for society (as an essential condition for freedom, democracy, spiritual well-being, individuality and creativity), opt-in should therefore be the default."
Source: blog.xot.co.uk/2011/08/04/privacy-as-irrational-choice-the-importance-of-opt-in/ (Aug 4, 2011).