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Pepperdine | Caruso School of Law

Victoria Schwartz to speak at 17th Annual Yale/Stanford/Harvard Junior Faculty Forum

May 2, 2016 -- Pepperdine Law professor Victoria L. Schwartz has been invited to participate in the 17th Annual Yale/Stanford/Harvard Junior Faculty Forum, which will be held at Yale Law School on June 28-19, 2016.  Professor Schwartz will present her paper, "Corporate Privacy Failures Start at the Top," 57 B.C. L. Rev. (2016 forthcoming) (SSRN).

The 17th Annual Yale/Stanford/Harvard Junior Faculty Forum:

The Forum's objective is to encourage the work of scholars recently appointed to a tenure-track position by providing experience in the pursuit of scholarship and the nature of the scholarly exchange. Meetings are held each spring, rotating among Yale, Stanford, and Harvard. Twelve to twenty scholars (with one to seven years in teaching) will be chosen on a blind basis from among those submitting papers to present. One or more senior scholars, not necessarily from Yale, Stanford, or Harvard, will comment on each paper. The audience will include the participating junior faculty, faculty from the host institutions, and invited guests. The goal is discourse both on the merits of particular papers and on appropriate methodologies for doing work in that genre. We hope that comment and discussion will communicate what counts as good work among successful senior scholars and will also challenge and improve the standards that now obtain. The Forum also hopes to increase the sense of community among American legal scholars generally, particularly among new and veteran professors.

Learn more at the Forum website.

Abstract of "Corporate Privacy Failures Start at the Top" (SSRN):

With the rise of big data, numerous corporations are in the invasion of privacy business. Yet corporations not directly in the invasion of privacy business must also inevitably make important decisions potentially impacting the privacy of their employees, consumers and shareholders.

The prevailing view among scholars and commentators concludes that corporations do not adequately protect privacy. To date, scholars have largely focused on consumer-centered market failures to explain this phenomenon. Under the conventional explanation, corporations respond to consumer demand, and as consumers ignored privacy policies and failed to price their privacy preferences, corporations responded accordingly.

This paper contributes to the existing literature by adding an additional corporation-side market distortion theory to help explain corporate privacy failures. Under this theory, extensive corporate disclosure requirements, including the potential for disclosure of executives' personal information, as well as legally unchecked media interest in the personal lives of corporate executives combine to sort the pool of corporate executive candidates towards individuals who do not themselves highly value privacy. This sorting effect within the executive suite then impacts the corporation's ability to recognize when seemingly neutral decisions may impact privacy.

Recognition of this corporation-side market distortion theory allows a shift away from a singular view of the corporate privacy problem as solely a consumer-driven market failure. This enables identifying counterbalancing steps that can help offset the sorting effect such as allowing corporate executives to negotiate disclosure policies, and adding chief privacy officers to conceptions of good corporate governance in order to ensure there is someone in the corporate leadership tasked with raising privacy concerns.