Amsterdam School of Communication Research / ASCoR

The Hidden Life of Personal Data in 21st Century Commerce

06Feb2017 15:30 - 17:00


ASCoR and IViR– Research Priority Area Personalised Communication Lecture by Professor Joe Turow (Robert Lewis Shayon Professor of Communication and Associate Dean for Graduate Studies at The Annenberg School for Communication , University of Pennsylvania).

Professor Turow's research focuses on digital cultural industries, especially at the intersection of the internet, marketing, and society, as well as studies on database marketing, media and privacy, digital out-of-home media, the process of innovation in the mass media, and the relationship between media and the medical system.

Among his books are The Daily You: How the New Advertising Industry is Defining Your Identity and Your Worth (Yale University Press, 2011), Niche Envy: Marketing Discrimination in the Digital Age (MIT Press, 2006) and Breaking Up America: Advertisers and the New Media World (University of Chicago Press, 1997). Since 1999 he has conducted national telephone surveys that have moved forward public discourse on digital media, marketing, and privacy.

He just published his new book: “The Aisles Have Eyes: How Retailers Track Your Shopping, Strip Your Privacy, and Define Your Power.”

We hope to see you all on February 6.


Drawing on my work studying the retailing and advertising industries in the US, I will review some of the ways merchants are gathering and using data about shoppers online, on apps, and in physical stores as competition over customers gets increasingly strong. Then, drawing on national surveys I have conducted since 1999, I will explore the idea of a privacy paradox—the seeming conflict between people’s stated concerns about marketers’ use of their data while they continually provide data to marketers. Industry executives explain away this paradox by insisting shoppers are logically engaging in tradeoffs. I will marshal survey evidence to argue that what is really going on is resignation. I will then argue that creating social resignation is a purposeful strategy on the part of commercial interests to forestall collective public anger—and I will show how that works.


If you plan to come, please register by sending an e-mail to

  • Roeterseilandcampus - gebouw B/C/D (ingang B/C)

    Nieuwe Achtergracht 166 | 1018 WV Amsterdam
    Receptie B: 525 5340 Receptie C: 525 5470

    Go to detailpage

The lecture takes place on The Roeterseiland Campus, room C10.20

Published by  ASCoR