Online offerings such as web search, news portals, and e-commerce applications face the challenge of providing high-quality service to a large, heterogeneous user base. Recent efforts have highlighted the potential to improve performance by introducing methods to personalize services based on special knowledge about users and their context. For example, a user's demographics, location, and past search and browsing may be useful in enhancing the results offered in response to web search queries. However, reasonable concerns about privacy by both users, providers, and government agencies acting on behalf of citizens, may limit access by services to such information. We introduce and explore an economics of privacy in personalization, where people can opt to share personal information, in a standing or on-demand manner, in return for expected enhancements in the quality of an online service.
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