Online privacy is under constant attack by social media and big data technologies. But we cannot rely on individual actions to remedy this—it is a matter of social justice.
In The Private Is Political: Networked Privacy and Social Media (Yale UP, 2023), Alice E. Marwick offers a new way of understanding how privacy is jeopardized, particularly for marginalized and disadvantaged communities—including immigrants, the poor, people of color, LGBTQ+ populations, and victims of online harassment.
Marwick shows that there are few resources or regulations for preventing personal information from spreading on the internet. Through a new theory of “networked privacy,” she reveals how current legal and technological frameworks are woefully inadequate in addressing issues of privacy—often by design. Drawing from interviews and focus groups encompassing a diverse group of Americans, Marwick shows that even heavy social media users care deeply about privacy and engage in extensive “privacy work” to protect it. But people are up against the violation machine of the modern internet. Safeguarding privacy must happen at the collective level.
Jake Chanenson is a computer science Ph.D. student at the University of Chicago. Broadly, Jake is interested in topics relating to HCI, privacy, and tech policy. Jake’s work has been published in top venues such as ACM’s CHI Conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems.