The point I'd like to make is that the problems are both pervasive and go all the way down. Consider webpages that want your personal information. The standard narrative about privacy these cases says that, when these sites provide notice of their
So far so good. However, as this paper by Scott Peppet (a law professor at Colorado) argues, the very fact of control may itself be the problem. As Peppet argues, digital technology makes it very easy to signal verifiable information about oneself to others, as for example by letting Progressive Insurance monitor one's driving habits. This information is often of economic value. Progressive, for example, wants to know who the good drivers are, and wants a better way to find out than either by asking ("are you a good driver?" "uh, yeah") or by going through proxies like age and gender. The device delivers that information in a level of detail formerly unobtainable, short of the company hiring somebody to follow you around. Users are free to opt-in to the monitoring or not. So this is a perfect example of notice and consent. But. The best drivers have an automatic incentive to signal their best-ness to Progressive, and secure their discount. The next-best drivers want to group themselves with the best ones... and so it goes. Pretty soon, even the worst drivers are having to consent to monitoring, in order to avoid the even greater stigma (in the form of much higher rates) of refusing to be monitored ("what are you hiding?"). And so a very strong economic pressure makes the cost of retaining one's privacy prohibitive - even as (or even because) one has perfect control over the act of consent.
At the very least, this ought to be troubling - Peppet argues that it's generalizable to a wide range of contemporary privacy issues. More fundamentally, it seems to me that it shows that digitality challenges our notions of ethical agency and personhood - autonomy may not be doing the work we need it to; at the very least, we may need to think hard about what, precisely, an "autonomous" decision is.