Is privacy a luxury for the rich? Remarkably, there is a dearth of literature evaluating whether data privacy is too costly for companies to implement or too expensive for governments to enforce. This paper is the first to offer a review of the costs of compliance and to summarize national budgets for enforcement. Our study suggests that, while privacy may indeed prove costly for companies to implement and may present a special burden for small and medium-sized businesses, it is not too costly for governments to enforce. Indeed, the European Union, seen as a global champion of privacy, expends less than a dollar a year per citizen on data protection enforcement. Effective data protection agencies are not prohibitively costly, even for small administrations, especially if they collaborate through regional bodies. This study will help inform governments as they fashion and implement privacy laws to address the “privacy enforcement gap”—the disparity between privacy on the books and privacy on the ground.
Anupam Chander et al., Achieving Privacy, 74 SMU L. Rev. 607 (2021)