pepperoni pizza slices

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Students will betray their friends’ online privacy for pizza

98 percent of students gave away their friend’s email address for pizza.


Phillip Tracy


Researchers at MIT and Stanford studied the actions of thousands of students to discover which of life’s greatest Ps is more important: privacy or pizza.

It turns out, privacy stops being such a big concern when you’ve got a free pizza dangling in front of you.

According to a paper published by the National Bureau of Economic Research, 98 percent of 3,108 MIT students were willing to give away their best friend’s email address for a slice of pie. Even without the delicious incentive, a staggering 94 percent of students readily handed out their friends’ personal information.

“Whereas people say they care about privacy, they are willing to relinquish private data quite easily when incentivized to do so,” authors of the study wrote.

The result is in contrast to previous studies conducted by the Pew Research Center that found nearly three-quarters of people in the U.S. believe it is important to be in control of their information, and 60 percent say they would never feel comfortable sharing their email address.

The two studies show a gap between the idea of wanting to protect one’s privacy and the willingness or knowledge to do so. That gap is why we continue to see lazy passwords like “123456” top the charts as the most hacked.

“When you think about some of the results of our paper, they’re possibly depressing because more and more of our data is becoming digital,” Christian Catalini, an assistant professor at the MIT Sloan School of Management, told the Register. “The fact that it’s so easy to push people into bad privacy decisions is alarming.”

At least the students in this study had a tasty excuse.

H/T The Next Web

The Daily Dot