Market Institutions: “CAUGHT IN THE WWWEB: PATTERNS OF CONTROL OVER PERSONAL INFORMATION FLOW IN THE E-COMMERCE ENVIRONMENT”
Privacy (Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy): “Privacy First published Tue May 14, 2002; substantive revision Mon Sep 18, 2006 The term “privacy” is used frequently in ordinary language as well as in philosophical, political and legal discussions, yet there is no single definition or analysis or meaning of the term.”
“Surveillance-capable technologies in the workplace: some evidence of the views of the next generation of computer professionals”
“Antitrust experts predict that Google’s purchase of advertising company DoubleClick for $3.1 billion will be approved by U.S. regulators despite vehement opposition from competitors Microsoft and Yahoo.”
EU privacy body to take months on Google probe | CNET News.com: “The European Union’s data watchdog will take another few months to decide whether Google or other Web search engines may be violating EU privacy laws, a participant in the watchdog’s meeting said on Wednesday.”
I’m writing an essay on the broader context of privacy and how we voluntarily give up our private information in exchange for services and other commercial benefit. Do you believe search engines are invading our privacy? Should their activities be curtailed?
“Whenever individuals are being informally watched or listened to, they are somewhat inhibited by what they imagine others’ reactions to be. This is how informal social control works in groups. We tend to try not to upset the people around us, especially if they have the means to retaliate in some way. Gossip and other private communications are an ordinary part of both group and organizational office politics. In informal conversation it’s one person’s word against another’s as to what was said and by whom. A private comment can be publicly denied. However, once a conversation gets recorded (for example in a paper memo or in an e-mail message) it assumes a more formal existence. As people begin to suspect they’ll be held accountable for their spontaneous utterances, their freedom to express themselves is inhibited. While this may be an improvement in the case of malicious gossip, it also destroys the backstage area where so much of group work is actually done.”
This may give us a clue as to why so many organisations are keen for people to blog. Once a blog post is published, it is almost impossible to delete any trace of it from the net, and when people know their comments are “permanent” and they believe they are being read and watched, they tend to normalise their behaviour. Blogs, while being a powerful tool for democracy may also become a Deleuzian “society of control.”
Warren and Brandeis, “The Right to Privacy”: “These considerations lead to the conclusion that the protection afforded to thoughts, sentiments, and emotions, expressed through the medium of writing or of the arts, so far as it consists in preventing publication, is merely an instance of the enforcement of the more general right of the individual to be let alone.”
This is a seminal article setting out the right of the individual to be left alone, as opposed to privacy from interference from government.