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Privacy In cyberspace Table 5-1: Three Theories of Privacy Accessibility Privacy Privacy is defined in terms of one's physically – PowerPoint PPT presentation

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Title: Privacy

  • In cyberspace

Table 5-1 Three Theories of Privacy
Accessibility Privacy Privacy is defined in terms of one's physically "being let alone," or freedom from intrusion into one's physical space.
Decisional Privacy Privacy is defined in terms of freedom from interference in one's choices and decisions.
Informational Privacy Privacy is defined as control over the flow of one's personal information, including the transfer and exchange of that information.
Why is Privacy Important?
  • What kind of value is privacy?
  • Is it one that is universally valued?
  • Is privacy valued mainly in Western
    industrialized societies, where greater
    importance is placed on individuals?
  • Is privacy something that is valued for its own
    sake i.e., an intrinsic value?
  • Is it valued as a means to an end, in which case
    it has only instrumental worth?

Is Privacy an Intrinsic or Instrumental Value?
  • Not valued for its own sake.
  • But is more than an instrumental value in the
    sense that it is necessary (rather than merely
    contingent) for achieving important human ends.
  • Fried privacy is necessary for human ends such
    as trust and friendship.
  • Moor privacy is an expression of the core value

Privacy as an Important Social Value
  • Privacy is important for a diversity of
    relationships (from intimate to casual).
  • It is important for democracy.
  • Privacy is an important social, as well as an
    individual, value.
  • Regan (1995) we need to understand the
    importance of privacy as a social value.

The Problem of Protecting Privacy in Public
  • Non-Public Personal Information (or NPI) refers
    to sensitive information such as in ones
    financial and medical records.
  • NPI has some legal protection
  • Many privacy analysts are now concerned about a
    different kind of personal information Public
    Personal Information (or PPI).
  • PPI is non-confidential and non-intimate in
    character is also being mined.

  • Why should the collection of PPI, which is
    publicly available information about persons
    generate controversies involving privacy?
  • it might seem that there is little to worry
  • For example, suppose someone learns that that
    you are a student at VT, you frequently attend
    college basketball games, and you are actively
    involved in VT computer science club.
  • In one sense, the information is personal because
    it is about you (as a person)but it is also
    about what you do in the public sphere.

PPI (Continued)
  • In the past, it would have been difficult to make
    a strong case for such legislation protecting
    PPI, because lawmakers and ordinary persons would
    have seen no need to protect that kind of
    personal information.
  • Nissenbaum (1997) believes that our earlier
    assumptions about the need to protect privacy in
    public are no longer tenable because of a
    misleading assumption 
  • There is a realm of public information about
    persons to which no privacy norms apply.

PPI (Continued)
  • Hypothetical Scenario
  • (a) Shopping at Supermart
  • (b) Shopping at
  • Reveal problems of protecting privacy in public
    in an era of information technology and data

Search Engines and Personal Information
  • Search facilities can be used to gain personal
    information about individuals (e.g., the Amy
    Boyer example).
  • Your Web activities can be catalogued and
    referenced by search engines.
  • Scenario using a search engine to locate a

Accessing Public Records via the Internet
  • What are public records?
  • Why do we have them?
  • Traditionally, they were accessed via hardcopy
    documents that resided in municipal buildings.
  • Recall the Amy Boyer case.
  • Would it have made a difference?
  • Another recent case Handgun Permits
  • Should that be published?
  • Some have permits to protect against threats

Accessing Public Records via the Internet
  • Some information merchants believe that because
    public records are, by definition, "public," they
    must be made available online.
  • They reason
  • Public records have always been available to the
  • Public records have always resided in public
  • The Internet is a public space.
  • Therefore, all of public records ought to be made
    available on-line.

Comprehensive Privacy Proposals
  • Clark argues for a "co-regulatory" model.
  • He believes that a successful on-line-privacy
    policy must include
  • strong legislation
  • a privacy oversight commission
  • industry self-regulation.
  • These must also be accompanied by
    privacy-enhancing technologies.
  • A "privacy watchdog agency" and sanctions are
    also both needed.


Essay Assignment Topic Privacy
  • Consider computing technologies that secure or
    threaten our privacy, such as encryption.  Should
    we allow technologies that support our ability to
    communicate and interact privately without limits
    or oversight, or should we set limits on
    technologies that insure our privacy?
  • Construct an argument (a well-formed essay using
    Toulmin structure for arguments) that takes a
    position with regard to the question(s) above. 
    Be sure to consider the readings in developing
    the position.

HLN Question
  • Should anonymity be allowed on the web?
  • Judge orders Google to hand over logs revealing
    damaging post on YouTube.
  • http//

  • The book 1984 gets mentioned a lot when we talk
    about privacy, but there are other books that
    address the issue either directly or as a side

The Puppet Masters by Robert A. Heinlen
  • The world is under attack by aliens who can
    control human minds by attaching themselves to
    any part of the body. In order to counteract
    this, the government forces everybody to go
    essentially naked.
  • This seems silly until you look at the
    controversy over new "lower-powered" airport
    x-ray machines that have just enough juice to see
    through clothing to look for weapons. Apparently
    the government, both in this book and in reality,
    find security more important than decency and

The Light of Other Days by Arthur C. Clarke.
  • Technology is developed that allows people to see
    anywhere and, eventually, anytime in the past as
    well, all from their own home. At first, the
    knowledge that anybody could be looking at a
    person at any time really freaked people out.
  • In a world of glass houses, every act is a public
    act and the idea that people could be watching at
    any time drove some to paranoia. But it also
    helped "clean up" the world, since people could
    be watching your shady business deal, your
    affair, or your illegal downloading.
  • It also addresses the ideas of "what is truth in
    history," since every person would remember an
    event a slightly different way. When the ability
    to see into the past and see the real truth, it
    was a complete revolution compared to the
    socially constructed and partially remembered
    history we have today.

What is privacy if not some simple right or
complex of rights?
  • Reiman Privacy is.
  • a social ritual or arrangement
  • necessary to the creation of selves -- require
    thoughts, body, actions to be our own.

Imagine societies in which
  • you and I can keep nothing secret, but others
  • you and I can pierce all secrets and everyone
    else is transparent.
  • no one can keep secrets.
  • everyone can keep secrets at will.

Surprise birthday party? requires
  • someone knowing that it is my birthday
  • sharing that information / planning with others
  • keeping the planning hidden from me
  • secrecy (that would be missing)

in order to have the institution of birthday
partiesto be meaningful
  • knowledge of my date of birth has to be something
    that I share with some but not everyone.
  • I regulate "closeness" with others, in part, by
    sharing different sorts of information
  • about myself
  • major and minor
  • what I did over the weekend

Privacy is the complex social ritual
  • by which others recognize our selves as our own
  • achieved in part by granting control
  • over ourselves, our body, our mind
  • AND over extensions of our selves
  • my diary
  • a computer file
  • information about me in a database

Also in order to have a birthday party, someone
has to care about my birthday,
  • expect others to care, expect that I would be
    touched by whatever expression of affection is
    shown through the giving of a surprise birthday
  • Those different forms of caring are necessary for
    giving meaningful surprise birthday parties.
  • those different forms of care are only possible
    within an institution of respect for privacy
  • Institutions of privacy make possible expressions
    of care such as surprise birthday parties or
    greetings, as well as the keeping of secrets.

Privacy Quiz
  • http//

Network Affect
  • e.g. John Gilmore's Free S/WAN project.
  • The idea is to deploy PC-based boxes that encrypt
    your Internet packets (and decrypts other such
    users packets)
  • As each person installs one for their own use, it
    becomes more valuable for their neighbors to
    install one too, because there's one more person
    to use it with.

Because of network effects it is likely that you
play a role in establishing standards
  • even if you do not design technological devices,
    advocate for public policies regarding
    technology, or participate in the deliberations
    of bodies that adopt formal standards.
  • If you are motivated by care, then the role you
    play in establishing standards should be a
    consideration in your choices whether to adopt a

What if everyone believed that law-abiding
citizens should use postcards for their mail?
  • If some brave soul tried to assert his privacy by
    using an envelope for his mail, it would draw
  • Fortunately, everyone protects most of their mail
    with an envelope. Safety in numbers.
  • Analogously, it would be nice if everyone
    routinely used encryption for all their e-mail,
    innocent or not, so that no one drew suspicion by
    asserting their e-mail privacy with encryption.
  • Think of it as a form of solidarity.

social aspects of technological choices
  • means seeing that in some of my choices I am
    acting not just for myself but "for all
  • not in the manner of the philosophers'
    categorical imperative, but in the manner of the
    economists' network effects
  • When we make these choices, we stand in for
    others, effectively making choices for them