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Our privacy is besieged by tech companies. Companies can do this because our laws are built on outdated ideas that trap lawmakers, regulators, and courts into wrong assumptions about privacy, resulting in ineffective legal remedies to one of the most pressing concerns of our generation. Drawing on behavioral science, sociology, and economics, Ignacio Cofone challenges existing laws and reform proposals and dispels enduring misconceptions about data-driven interactions. This exploration offers readers a holistic view of why current laws and regulations fail to protect us against corporate digital harms, particularly those created by AI. Cofone then proposes a better response: meaningful accountability for the consequences of corporate data practices, which ultimately entails creating a new type of liability that recognizes the value of privacy.


‘To protect privacy in the digital age, Ignacio Cofone argues, we must rethink privacy harms. These harms are social and systemic as well as individual, and they will not be remedied by market and contractual approaches. This beautifully written book is an excellent introduction to problems of digital exploitation that affect everyone.’

Jack Balkin - Yale Law School

‘Why are privacy rules failing us when we need them the most? In this superb book, Ignacio Cofone expertly threads together privacy law’s many missteps and proposes a way forward that doesn’t rest on myths and misconceptions. The Privacy Fallacy clearly and effectively stakes out an essential turning point for lawmakers and society: We either commit to holding companies liable for the full range of harms they cause, or we continue to indulge in the fantasy that privacy can be individually negotiated and that our laws have it under control.’

Woodrow Hartzog - Boston University

‘With the rigor of an economist and the heart of a humanist, Cofone explores why privacy law has been disappointingly powerless in today’s data-driven society. He proposes a new understanding of privacy harm to ground a more effective liability regime. A clear and engaging read for experts and interested laypeople alike!’

Katherine J. Strandburg - New York University School of Law

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