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Privacy in Context: Technology, Policy, and the Integrity of Social Life

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Privacy is one of the most urgent issues associated with information technology and digital media. This book claims that what people really care about when they complain and protest that privacy has been violated is not the act of sharing information itself—most people understand that this is crucial to social life —but the inappropriate, improper sharing of information. Ar Privacy is one of the most urgent issues associated with information technology and digital media. This book claims that what people really care about when they complain and protest that privacy has been violated is not the act of sharing information itself—most people understand that this is crucial to social life —but the inappropriate, improper sharing of information. Arguing that privacy concerns should not be limited solely to concern about control over personal information, Helen Nissenbaum counters that information ought to be distributed and protected according to norms governing distinct social contexts—whether it be workplace, health care, schools, or among family and friends. She warns that basic distinctions between public and private, informing many current privacy policies, in fact obscure more than they clarify. In truth, contemporary information systems should alarm us only when they function without regard for social norms and values, and thereby weaken the fabric of social life.


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Privacy is one of the most urgent issues associated with information technology and digital media. This book claims that what people really care about when they complain and protest that privacy has been violated is not the act of sharing information itself—most people understand that this is crucial to social life —but the inappropriate, improper sharing of information. Ar Privacy is one of the most urgent issues associated with information technology and digital media. This book claims that what people really care about when they complain and protest that privacy has been violated is not the act of sharing information itself—most people understand that this is crucial to social life —but the inappropriate, improper sharing of information. Arguing that privacy concerns should not be limited solely to concern about control over personal information, Helen Nissenbaum counters that information ought to be distributed and protected according to norms governing distinct social contexts—whether it be workplace, health care, schools, or among family and friends. She warns that basic distinctions between public and private, informing many current privacy policies, in fact obscure more than they clarify. In truth, contemporary information systems should alarm us only when they function without regard for social norms and values, and thereby weaken the fabric of social life.

30 review for Privacy in Context: Technology, Policy, and the Integrity of Social Life

  1. 4 out of 5

    Kim

    This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here. If you are already familiar with many current technologies and how they might affect privacy, you can skim or skip section I. In Section II, Nissenbaum explores dominant theoretical approaches to privacy, including the problematic binary public/private. Section III outlines her approach, centered on Contextual Integrity and appropriate flows of information in context. One of the best moves Nissenbaum makes, in my opinion, is to resolve the apparent contradiction in people who claim to be concern If you are already familiar with many current technologies and how they might affect privacy, you can skim or skip section I. In Section II, Nissenbaum explores dominant theoretical approaches to privacy, including the problematic binary public/private. Section III outlines her approach, centered on Contextual Integrity and appropriate flows of information in context. One of the best moves Nissenbaum makes, in my opinion, is to resolve the apparent contradiction in people who claim to be concerned with privacy, yet share information freely. I found myself wishing that legislators and judges would read this book as contextual integrity seems to be a way to evaluate privacy that respects the theoretical importance of privacy without being reactionary.

  2. 5 out of 5

    Alejandro Teruel

    En el 2001, la Real Academia Academia Española admitió el neologismo privacidad con el significado de "ámbito de la vida privada que se tiene derecho a proteger de cualquier intromisión". En un enmiendo para la 23ava edición prevista a aparecer este año (2014), el cuerpo admitió un segundo significado "Cualidad de privado". Con esto se pone fin al estado algo renegado del término y las bizantinas discusiones sobre el uso de términos afines como intimidad y confidencialidad -al respecto conviene En el 2001, la Real Academia Academia Española admitió el neologismo privacidad con el significado de "ámbito de la vida privada que se tiene derecho a proteger de cualquier intromisión". En un enmiendo para la 23ava edición prevista a aparecer este año (2014), el cuerpo admitió un segundo significado "Cualidad de privado". Con esto se pone fin al estado algo renegado del término y las bizantinas discusiones sobre el uso de términos afines como intimidad y confidencialidad -al respecto conviene consultar el excelente artículo web de José Antonio Díaz Rojo Privacidad, ¿neologismo o barbarismo? (http://pendientedemigracion.ucm.es/in...). Si bien la preocupación por la seguridad de los mensajes se remonta al menos al cifrado atribuido a Julio César y la preocupación del caracter confidencial o secreto de los datos almacenados en los computadores es contemporáneo con sus primeras aplicaciones militares, aún recuerdo mi asombro al leer los trabajos de Dorothy Denning al principio de la década de los años 1980 (Cryptography and Data Security, Addison‑Wesley, May 1982) y enterarme de la posibilidad de inferir información privada a partir de bases de datos estadísticos. Desde entonces la situación se ha vuelto mucho más complicada y preocupante, como deja bien en claro Nissenbaum. Nissenbaum estructura su libro en tres partes. En la primera parte del libro, Fuerza y amenaza de la informática, propone que la amenaza a la privacidad proviene, en su dimensión técnica, de tres flancos: (1) la capacidad de monitorización y rastreo que puede lograrse a través de la teleinformática y particularmente la telefonía móvil, (2) el volumen de datos almacenados en bases de datos y las capacidad de análisis e inferencias que pueden hacerse en tales plataformas y (3) la capacidad de acceso y divulgación de información de Internet y la interconectividad de las plataformas de telecomunicaciones. En la segunda parte del libro, Estudio crítico de los enfoques predominantes de la privacidad hace un exhaustivo estudio tanto del carácter de la privacidad (¿es un valor, un valor derivado o secundario, un derecho moral o un derecho legal?), como de los enfoques filosóficos y jurídicos que intentan trabajarlo. En la tercera parte del libro, El marco de la integridad contextual, Nissenbaum propone su propio marco de trabajo, inspirado o derivado de la idea de tramas, marcos o encuadres (frames, en Inglés), propuestas originalmente por Marvin Minsky en su artículo A Framework for Representing Knowledge"(1974), del que derivan los guiones (scripts) de Roger Schank y Harold Abelson. Un marco es una estructura de datos utilizada en aplicaciones de inteligencia artificial utilizada para estructurar el conocimiento en subestructuras que permiten representar situaciones estereotípicas, permitiéndole a la aplicación hacer uso de conocimientos dependientes del contexto en que se desempeña. La intuición clave de Helen Nissenbaum es que el significado, extensión y alcance de la privacidad depende del contexto en que se enmarca -de esta forma, el derecho de accesar, usar o divulgar ciertos datos personales, depende del contexto en que se está y no son iguales, por ejemplo, un contexto de una conversación íntima entre amigos, una conversación entre un médico y su paciente y el contexto jurídico de un acusado y el tribunal que lo juzga. El "contexto" de Nissenbaum se caracteriza por: 1. Los roles de los actores que participan significativamente en ese contexto; 2. Las actividades representativas o "canónicas" en que se desarrollan los roles; 3. Las normas que orientan, prescriben y proscriben acciones y prácticas acceptables. A su vez estas normas se caracterizan por cuatro parámetros: los contextos en que aplican, los actores (emisores, receptores y sujetos de información), los atributos o tipos de información y los principios de transmisión, valga decir las restricciones al flujo de información de una parte a otra en un contexto. 4. Los valores en que se sustentan las metas, propósitos, fines u objetivos ese contexto.La propuesta de Nissenbaum es útil, pragmática y fértil -considero que es un excelente punto de partida y obligada referencia para seguir ahondando en el tema. El libro es más bien pesado debido, en buena parte a la densidad de las citas y las referencias escuetas pero prolijas a otros enfoques, lo que dificulta la lectura, a la vez que le brinda solidez académica al trabajo. Desafortunadamente, la traducción al Castellano adolece de múltiples defectos y descuidos que exacerban el problema. Un excelente y muy recomendado resumen de los puntos principales del libro puede encontrarse en el artículo Privacy as Contextual Integrity de la propia autora (Washington Law Review, Vol. 79, No. 1, 2004 , http://papers.ssrn.com/sol3/papers.cf...). Finalmente, para aquellos lectores que puedan estar interesados, cabe destacar que Steve Wicker (Universidad de Cornell) ofrece un curso tipo MOOC gratuito en Internet muy bueno, Wiretaps to Big Data (https://courses.edx.org/courses/Corne...), en la más enfocada hacia la problemática de privacidad en plataformas móviles e inalámbricas que presta particular -quizás excesiva- atención al marco de jurispudencia estadounidense.

  3. 5 out of 5

    Mephistia

    Holy run-on-sentence, this book was impossible to read. There were some really great ideas in there, but they are not conveyed clearly or concisely. One of my professors said the problem with academic literature is that they sort of out-compete one another to write the most dense, obscure treatises on their topics. Such books are less about educating and more about trumpeting their own academic credentials to a very select in-group. This same professor also pointed out that it is very easy indeed Holy run-on-sentence, this book was impossible to read. There were some really great ideas in there, but they are not conveyed clearly or concisely. One of my professors said the problem with academic literature is that they sort of out-compete one another to write the most dense, obscure treatises on their topics. Such books are less about educating and more about trumpeting their own academic credentials to a very select in-group. This same professor also pointed out that it is very easy indeed to couch simple ideas in very complex language to make yourself sound more intelligent, but it's a lot more difficult to couch complex ideas in concise, readable language to convey the ideas to a broad range of readers. The true measure of intelligence, in her estimation, was the second ability. Unfortunately, higher education teaches the first ability, and perpetuates it in publishing. This book is a prime example of a dense academic text. I would not recommend it to the casual reader, and I would certainly not recommend it to a professor looking for classroom readings.

  4. 5 out of 5

    Paul Dunphy

    Long winded, repetitive, arduous to read.. It seems like this book was written to court lawmakers rather than impart new social/technical understanding. My main criticism of the book as a whole would be the excessively analytical lens on privacy, and its conceptualising as an individual and transactional phenomenon. The framework also seems disproportionately (and constantly) glorified which is a bit off-putting considering it is actually very simple. The best bit about the book is its bringing Long winded, repetitive, arduous to read.. It seems like this book was written to court lawmakers rather than impart new social/technical understanding. My main criticism of the book as a whole would be the excessively analytical lens on privacy, and its conceptualising as an individual and transactional phenomenon. The framework also seems disproportionately (and constantly) glorified which is a bit off-putting considering it is actually very simple. The best bit about the book is its bringing together of disparate works on the topic of privacy,but more than that, I didn't take much from this one.

  5. 4 out of 5

    Mark

    A dense, informative read. Lots of references to court cases, setting legal precedent for some of the author's opinions. It also touches on some philosophical points regarding the definition of some key concepts. I'd imagine this being required reading in a graduate level IT policy course. A dense, informative read. Lots of references to court cases, setting legal precedent for some of the author's opinions. It also touches on some philosophical points regarding the definition of some key concepts. I'd imagine this being required reading in a graduate level IT policy course.

  6. 4 out of 5

    Jordan Mazur

    A really long philosophy paper. Many useable insights, but fundamentally wrong about how user behavior would adjust to data sharing and aggregation by social media sites, government, and others.

  7. 4 out of 5

    VannTile

    This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here. This is the longest scientific paper I have ever read. An extremely difficult and thorough book (and at some points repetitive), it presents a valuable framework in the form of contextual integrity for privacy.

  8. 5 out of 5

    Chick Foxgrover

    This seems to me to be essential reading if you are interested in "privacy" on the internet. This seems to me to be essential reading if you are interested in "privacy" on the internet.

  9. 4 out of 5

    laura

    great book. i have two thirds of a blog post / review written up about it, saved these several months, which i'll eventually get around to posting. great book. i have two thirds of a blog post / review written up about it, saved these several months, which i'll eventually get around to posting.

  10. 5 out of 5

    Tawfiqam

    Great read of how privacy has changed with technological shift...

  11. 4 out of 5

    Betsy

  12. 5 out of 5

    Rasmus Raspel

  13. 5 out of 5

    Stockfish

  14. 4 out of 5

    Alison Cooper

  15. 5 out of 5

    Matt Stucky

  16. 4 out of 5

    Angela Cirucci

  17. 5 out of 5

    Kristen

  18. 4 out of 5

    Daniel Anderson

  19. 5 out of 5

    Kenesa Ahmad

  20. 5 out of 5

    Jan B

  21. 4 out of 5

    Bruce Wells

  22. 5 out of 5

    John Smith

  23. 5 out of 5

    Joshua

  24. 4 out of 5

    Oliver

  25. 4 out of 5

    Mina asadi

  26. 5 out of 5

    Peter Austin

  27. 4 out of 5

    Lukazko

  28. 5 out of 5

    Chloe

  29. 4 out of 5

    Meg Costello

  30. 4 out of 5

    Meghan

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