Chris Hoofnagle

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Chris Hoofnagle
Residence Berkeley, California
Citizenship American
Known for Survey research on consumer privacy, Federal Trade Commission
Scientific career
Fields Privacy, computer crime, identity theft
Notable students Ashkan Soltani

Chris Jay Hoofnagle is an American professor at the University of California, Berkeley who teaches information privacy law, computer crime law, regulation of online privacy, and internet law.[1][2]

Hoofnagle has contributed to the privacy literature through a set of surveys that establish that most Americans prefer not to be targeted online for advertising[3][4] and that, despite claims to the contrary, young people care about privacy and take actions to protect it.[5][6] Hoofnagle is the author of Federal Trade Commission Privacy Law and Policy, a history of the FTC's consumer protection and privacy efforts.[7]


Hoofnagle has served as an advisor for several student projects at the University of California, Berkeley School of Information. He advised Ashkan Soltani and his colleagues on their article "Flash Cookies and Privacy".[8]

Hoofnagle and Soltani published a follow-up on this work in 2011 documenting the use of "HTTP ETags" to store persistent identifiers.[9] This research was also published in the Harvard Policy Law Review as "Behavioral Advertising: The Offer You Cannot Refuse,"[10] and won the CPDP 2014 Multidisciplinary Privacy Research Award.[11]

Notable works[edit]

Hoofnagle has used research to propose policy solutions to privacy problems such as requiring lending institutions and payment firms to publicly report their internal statistics on fraud and identity theft. In 2007, the New York Times wrote about Hoofnagle's work on curbing identify theft.[12]

Early in his career, he wrote an article highlighting the trend of federal law enforcement to use data aggregators to collect and analyze data on citizens.[13][14] This work was featured in Robert O'Harrow's book No Place to Hide.[15] More recently, Hoofnagle has researched the consumer protection implications of "free" online services. With co-author Jan Whittington, Hoofnagle published two articles on free business models: "Unpacking Privacy's Price" and "The Price of 'Free': Accounting for the Cost of the Internet's Most Popular Price".[16][17]

Hoofnagle is a member of the American Association of University Professors (AAUP), and serves on its committee on Academic Freedom and Electronic Communications. He has been a strong critic of academic outsourcing of communications to services such as Google Apps for Education.[18]

Industry ties[edit]

According to Hoofnagle's page at the UC Berkeley website, he is an advisor to Palantir Technologies.[19]


Writing in the European Journal of Public Health, Pascal Diethelm and Martin McKee describe the contribution Chris and Mark Hoofnagle have made to the understanding of denialism:

The Hoofnagle brothers, a lawyer and a physiologist from the United States, who have done much to develop the concept of denialism, have defined it as the employment of rhetorical arguments to give the appearance of legitimate debate where there is none, an approach that has the ultimate goal of rejecting a proposition on which a scientific consensus exists.[20]

Key to this development was a widely read paper titled Denialists' Deck of Cards: An Illustrated Taxonomy of Rhetoric Used to Frustrate Consumer Protection Efforts in which he describes denialism as "the use of rhetorical techniques and predictable tactics to erect barriers to debate and consideration of any type of reform regardless of the facts".[21]

Hoofnagle has been also a strong critic of libertarian public policy groups, arguing that they create outcomes that are neither pro-libertarian nor pro-consumer.[22]


  1. ^ Chris Jay Hoofnagle, UC Berkeley School of Information
  2. ^ Technology | Academics | Policy - Chris Hoofnagle
  3. ^ Turow, Joseph and King, Jennifer and Hoofnagle, Chris Jay and Bleakley, Amy and Hennessy, Michael, Americans Reject Tailored Advertising and Three Activities that Enable It (September 29, 2009). Available at SSRN:
  4. ^ Stephanie <[permanent dead link]> Clifford, Two-Thirds of Americans Object to Online Tracking, The New York Times, Sept. 29, 2009,
  5. ^ Hoofnagle, Chris Jay and King, Jennifer and Li, Su and Turow, Joseph, How Different are Young Adults from Older Adults When it Comes to Information Privacy Attitudes and Policies? (April 14, 2010). Available at SSRN:
  6. ^ Benny <[permanent dead link]> Evangelista, Study: Young people concerned about privacy, San Francisco Chronicle, Apr. 6, 2010, <>
  7. ^ Hoofnagle, Chris Jay (2016). Federal Trade Commission Privacy Law and Policy. ISBN 9781107126787. 
  8. ^ Flash Cookies and Privacy by Ashkan Soltani, Shannon Canty, Quentin Mayo, Lauren Thomas, Chris Jay Hoofnagle :: SSRN
  9. ^ Flash Cookies and Privacy II: Now with HTML5 and ETag Respawning by Mika Ayenson, Dietrich James Wambach, Ashkan Soltani, Nathan Good, Chris Jay Hoofnagle :: SSRN
  10. ^ Behavioral Advertising: The Offer You Cannot Refuse by Chris Jay Hoofnagle, Ashkan Soltani, Nathan Good, Dietrich James Wambach, Mika Ayenson :: SSRN
  11. ^ Chris Hoofnagle's Behavioral Advertising Paper Receives the CPDP 2014 Multidisciplinary Privacy Research Award, TAP Blog, January 23, 2014
  12. ^
  13. ^ Big Brother's Little Helpers: How Choicepoint and Other Commercial Data Brokers Collect, Process, and Package Your Data for Law Enforcement by Chris Jay Hoofnagle :: SSRN
  14. ^ UC Berkeley web census shows that Internet users are constantly tracked - The Daily Californian
  15. ^ In Age of Security, Firm Mines Wealth Of Personal Data (
  16. ^ Unpacking Privacy's Price by Jan Whittington, Chris Jay Hoofnagle :: SSRN
  17. ^ The Price of 'Free': Accounting for the Cost of the Internet's Most Popular Price by Chris Jay Hoofnagle, Jan Whittington :: SSRN
  18. ^ Chris Jay Hoofnagle, The good, not so good, and long view on Bmail, March 6, 2013, available at
  19. ^ University of California, Berkeley Archived January 13, 2014, at the Wayback Machine.
  20. ^ Pascal Diethelm and Martin McKee, Denialism: what is it and how should scientists respond?, Eur J Public Health (2009) 19 (1): 2-4. doi: 10.1093/eurpub/ckn139
  21. ^ Denialists' Deck of Cards: An Illustrated Taxonomy of Rhetoric Used to Frustrate Consumer Protection Efforts by Chris Jay Hoofnagle :: SSRN
  22. ^ Hoofnagle, Chris Jay, Protecting privacy hinges on reining in companies, San Francisco Chronicle, July 28, 2013,

External links[edit]