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


Don’t Sacrifice Privacy on the Altar of Convenience

By Matthew Feeney. Medium. July 27, 2017.

Surveillance Reform DéJà Vu

By Patrick G. Eddington. The Hill (Online). July 11, 2017.

Is Terrorism Transforming America into a Police State?

By Ted Galen Carpenter. National Interest (Online). July 4, 2017.

Cato Studies

Stingray: A New Frontier in Police Surveillance

By Adam Bates. Policy Analysis No. 809. January 25, 2017.

Surveillance Takes Wing: Privacy in the Age of Police Drones

By Matthew Feeney. Policy Analysis No. 807. December 13, 2016.

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.


Don’t Panic: Making Progress on the “Going Dark” Debate

Julian Sanchez. February 1, 2016.

Transcript: Five Train Wrecks of Information Disclosure Policy

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

Unveiling the Surveillance State

Cato's Letter. Sen. Ron Wyden. Vol. 12. No. 1. Winter 2014.

Public Filings

Americans for Prosperity Foundation v. Harris

By Allyson N. Ho, John C. Sullivan, C. Dean McGrath Jr., & Ilya Shapiro. Legal Briefs. January 27, 2017.

Ferrer v. Senate Permanent Subcommittee on Investigations

By Jessica Ring Amunson, Joshua M. Parker, Ilya Shapiro, & Manuel S. Klausner. Legal Briefs. November 22, 2016.

Graham v. United States

By Jim Harper and Ilya Shapiro. Legal Briefs. November 3, 2016.

Cato Reviews & Journals

The State of Surveillance

Policy Report. March/April 2017.

21. National ID Systems

Cato Handbook for Policymakers. Cato Handbook for Policymakers, 8th Edition (2017).

11. Reforming Surveillance Authorities

Cato Handbook for Policymakers. Cato Handbook for Policymakers, 8th Edition (2017).


The Future of Surveillance: Reform, Repeal, or Renewal for Section 702?

Featuring Patrick G. Eddington, Sen. Ron Wyden, Sen. Rand Paul, Julian Sanchez, & Charlie Savage. July 27, 2017. Policy Forum.

The 2016 Cato Surveillance Conference

Featuring Julian Sanchez and Patrick G. Eddington. December 14, 2016. Conference.

The Domestic Drone Revolution: Risks and Rewards in Perspective

Featuring Matthew Feeney and Patrick G. Eddington. September 27, 2016. Conference.