Strategy, Information, Technology, Economics, and Society (SITES)

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    Should We Outlaw Ransomware Payments?
    ( 2021-01-05) Dey, Debabrata ; Lahiri, Atanu
    Recently, there has been an upsurge in ransomware attacks. A ransomware attacker encrypts a user's files and then demands a ransom in exchange for the decryption key. While paying the ransom allows the user to quickly unlock the locked files and avoid potentially larger losses, it also strengthens the hands of the attacker and increases the chance of a future attack. We study this dilemma of the victims using a game-theoretic model and the resulting equilibrium. This leads to several interesting insights such as that legally prohibiting ransom payments may not always have the desired economic effects---in some cases, a ban is effective in addressing the economic externality but, in others, it may reduce overall welfare. We explain when and why a ban may help and when it may not. Our findings have important implications for policymakers who are currently debating laws that, if enacted, will ban payments to attackers.
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    Seeing Humans in the Data: Ethical Blind Spots of Taiwan Academic Researchers in the Era of Behavioral Big Data
    ( 2021-01-05) Fell, Jan ; Shmueli, Galit ; Greene, Travis ; Wang, Jyun-Cheng ; Ray, Soumya ; Wu, Shu-Yuan
    The advent of Behavioral Big Data (BBD) has profoundly impacted research ethics. At the same time, academic disciplines with no experience in human subjects research increasingly make use of BBD datasets. In this first-of-its-kind study, we evaluate Taiwan academic researchers’ knowledge and awareness of data ethics using a series of four BBD-based hypothetical research scenarios. We uncover several data ethics blind spots affecting academic researchers. Through the results of this research we hope to strengthen academic researchers’ data ethics awareness and knowledge in the context of BBD, and provide suggestions for improving the ethics training of academic researchers conducting BBD studies. We also contribute a re-conceptualization of data ethics encompassing both traditional human subjects research ethics and new paradigms for the regulation of personal data, such as the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR).
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    Is Data Ownership Empowerment Welfare-Enhancing?
    ( 2021-01-05) Li, Shilei ; Feng, Juan
    Under current business models, consumers have to hand over their personal data to “digital giants” in exchange for high-quality services. Should consumers be empowered to have ownership towards the data they generated through their own actions in the platform firm’s site? New technologies emerge to empower consumers to control their own data, and the platform firm may need to compensate for the usage of consumers’ private data. How consumers and the firm should react to such data ownership empowerment policy, however, is not clear. We build a theoretical model in which consumers have different sensitivities to the loss of data ownership. We show that the impact of data ownership empowerment depends not only on the firm’s revenue structure, but also on consumers’ need for customized services. The results of the welfare analysis offer managerial implications for policy making.
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    Inferring Supplier Quality in the Gig Economy: The Effectiveness of Signals in Freelance Job Markets
    ( 2021-01-05) Kathuria, Abhishek ; Saldanha, Terence ; Khuntia, Jiban ; Andrade Rojas, Mariana ; Mithas, Sunil ; Hah, Hyeyoung
    Inferring quality of labor suppliers is a challenge in the gig economy. Many online freelance job markets address this challenge by incorporating signals. We test effectiveness of two kinds of information signals as indicators of supplier quality: skill signal (which reflects suppliers’ skill and potential), and achievement signal (which reflects suppliers’ past achievement). We theorize that two job characteristics in cross-national labor demand settings strengthen effectiveness of these signals: job duration, and cultural distance. Econometric analysis on a dataset from a leading online freelance job marketplace containing information on jobs posted by buyers and completed by suppliers located across several countries supports our hypotheses. We find that both skill and achievement signals are more effective at inferring supplier quality in jobs involving longer duration, and in jobs involving greater cultural distance between buyers and suppliers.
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    Fundamentals for the Design of Products for a Circular Economy: Examples from Software Engineering To Motivate Efficient and Ethical Design of Physical Products
    ( 2021-01-05) Clemons, Eric ; Teilmann-Lock, Stina
    Often research in information systems looks for reference disciplines, like information economics or game theory, that can inform and motivate our re-search. Here we reverse that paradigm and offer an area in which information system provides a reference discipline for the design of physical products. Design for the Circular Economy is a green initiative that goes beyond recycling and focuses on the design of products that can remain in use almost indefinitely, and thus are not replaced and are not recycled. This leads to products for which maintenance, repair, upgrades, and style enhancements are less wasteful. This usually requires breakthroughs in design and in manufacturing processes. There is a small set of design principles that enable Design for the Circular Economy, and that yield long-term benefits in the ownership and operation of products. Green design for the Circular Economy becomes relevant even for products with shorter life-times and lower costs.