George Mason University Antonin Scalia Law School

Briefing on Nomi, Spokeo, and Privacy Harms

Event Details

  • Date:
  • Venue: George Mason University Antonin Scalia Law School
  • Division: Program on Economics and Privacy

Program Description: Two recent cases have put the issue of privacy harms front and center.  During the upcoming term, the Supreme Court will hear arguments inSpokeo, Inc. vs. Robins, a case that addresses standing in the context of the Fair Credit Reporting Act. Last spring, the FTC charged retail tracking firm, Nomi Technologies, with a violation of the FTC Act.

Both of these cases raise important issues surrounding privacy enforcement: When is a privacy harm sufficient to confer standing? Should the FTC rethink materiality in the context of privacy statements?  What about so-called “predictive privacy harms” from big data? What do these cases mean for information technology firms?  

The event was a lively discussion of the pressing policy issues surrounding these important cases, with some of the top experts in the field, including two former directors of the Bureau of Consumer Protection at the FTC.  Former FTC Commissioner Joshua D. Wright kicked off the morning with a provocative speech on the need for more economic analysis in privacy regulation.





Henry N. Butler, Dean and Professor of Law, George Mason University School of Law

James C. Cooper, Director, Research and Policy, Law & Economics Center and Lecturer in Law, George Mason University School of Law

Keynote Address: The Missing Role of Economics in Privacy Regulation at the FTC


Joshua D. Wright, Professor of Law and Director, Global Antitrust Institute, George Mason University School of Law and Former Commissioner, Federal Trade Commission


Panel Discussion: Nomi, Spokeo, and Privacy Harms


J. Howard Beales III, Professor of Strategic Management and Public Policy, The George Washington University School of Business

D. Reed Freeman, Jr., Partner and Co-Chair, Cybersecurity, Privacy, and Communications Practice, WilmerHale LLP

David C. Vladeck, Professor of Law, Georgetown University Law Center


James C. Cooper