Many consumers are concerned about what information they reveal when they go online, how that information is protected, and how it will be used. Government regulators have clamored to answer those questions and impose their visions of online commerce. But the best answers will emerge from competition among firms to serve consumers. Because consumers have many options online, and because they can decline to use the Internet entirely, they can reward and punish online businesses on the basis of their privacy and security practices.

More on Privacy Issues


Repeal REAL ID

By Jim Harper. The Hill (Online). October 28, 2015.

In the Fight against the Surveillance State the Past Is Always Prologue

By Nat Hentoff. October 21, 2015.

Will the Next House Speaker Crack Down on the NSA?

By Patrick G. Eddington. National Interest (Online). October 19, 2015.

Cato Studies

Checking E-Verify: The Costs and Consequences of a National Worker Screening Mandate

By Alex Nowrasteh and Jim Harper. Policy Analysis No. 775. July 7, 2015.

REAL ID: A State-by-State Update

By Jim Harper. Policy Analysis No. 749. May 12, 2014.

A Rational Response to the Privacy “Crisis”

By Larry Downes. Policy Analysis No. 716. January 7, 2013.


Transcript: Five Train Wrecks of Information Disclosure Policy

Walter Olson. Vermont Law Review. Vol. 38. No. 4. Summer 2014.

Surveillance in Perspective

Roger Pilon. The Politic - Yale University. Summer 2006.

Public Filings

Center for Competitive Politics v. Harris

By Ilya Shapiro, Trevor Burrus, and Randal John Meyer. Legal Briefs. September 1, 2015.

Testimony Regarding SB 262 and the U.S. Federal REAL ID Act

By Jim Harper. Testimony. March 3, 2015.

City of Los Angeles v. Patel

By Jim Harper, Ilya Shapiro, and Julio Colomba. Legal Briefs. January 30, 2015.

Cato Reviews & Journals

No Place to Hide

Policy Report. July/August 2014.

Delivering Government Transparency

Policy Report. May/June 2014.

The Snowden Conundrum

Robert A. Levy. Policy Report. March/April 2014.


The Second Annual Cato Surveillance Conference

Featuring Julian Sanchez. October 21, 2015. Conference.

E-Verify: The Impact of National Employment Verification on Work, Privacy, and Liberty

Featuring Jim Harper and Alex Nowrasteh. September 10, 2015. Capitol Hill Briefing.

The Future of NATO and the Transatlantic Security Framework

Featuring Doug Bandow and Emma Ashford. March 4, 2015. Policy Forum.