"Social Status and the demand for security and privacy" (CRCS Lunch Seminar)

CRCS Lunch Seminar

Date: Monday, April 18, 2011
Speaker: Jens Grossklags, Pennsylvania State University, College of Information Sciences and Technology
Title: Social Status and the demand for security and privacy

Abstract:  The majority of the stakeholders of the political process argue for consistently increased funding for defense, anti-terrorism activities and domestic security. However, it is far from obvious whether these concerns for superior security activities are shared by the majority of citizens. Specifically, we argue that individuals belonging to different social status categories perceive the need for security and the sometimes associated privacy tradeoff in substantially different ways.

The method of investigation used is experimental, with 146 subjects interacting in high- or low-status assignments and the subsequent change in the demand for security and privacy being related to status assignment with a significant t-statistic up to 2.9, depending on the specification. We find that a high-status assignment strongly increases the demand for security. This effect is observable for two predefined sub-dimensions of security (i.e., personal and societal concerns) as well as for the composite measure. We find only weak support for an increase in the demand for privacy with a low-status manipulation.

Hence high status decision-makers, including the political elite, will be inclined to over-spend on security measures relative to the demand of the populace.

Joint work with Nigel Barradale, Copenhagen Business School, Department of Finance.

Bio:  Dr. Grossklags is an Assistant Professor at the College of Information Sciences and Technology at the Pennsylvania State University. He is affiliated with the Security and Risk Analysis program, as well as the Social and Economic Sciences and Human-Computer Interaction research groups.

Previously, he served as a Postdoctoral Research Associate at the Center for Information Technology Policy, and as a Lecturer of Computer Science at Princeton University. In 2009, he completed his doctoral dissertation at UC Berkeley’s School of Information advised by Professors John Chuang, Teck-Hua Ho, Deirdre Mulligan and Hal Varian. While at UC Berkeley, he also obtained master’s degrees in Computer Science, and Information Management and Systems.

He is studying information privacy, security, and networked interactions from a theoretical and practical perspective. Specifically, Dr. Grossklags is motivated to contribute to a better understanding of the current and future marketplace for personal and corporate information, and improved designs of the underlying evolving security infrastructure. His academic work is very cross-disciplinary and utilizes analytic, empirical and experimental methodologies.