Privacy as Identity Territoriality: Re-Conceptualising Behaviour in Cyberspace

Ciarán McMahon

RCSI CyberPsychology Research Centre

Mary Aiken

RCSI CyberPsychology Research Centre

February 4, 2014

Recent exposés of global surveillance have heightened already-heated debates about privacy in a technological society. In this paper, we explore the context and probable effects of this crisis, the character of privacy concerns, re-interpret what is meant by 'privacy', provide some solutions to the crisis. Fundamentally, we explore privacy not as a forensic or civil rights issue, but instead as a secondary psychological drive, the combination of two more profound drives – territoriality and identity. As such, the problem lies in the fact that cyberspace generally, is a wholly interconnected and networked environment which makes the demarcation of individual spaces problematic. However, by viewing privacy as identity territoriality, and by examining the psychology of those concepts, we can chart solutions to this crisis more easily. For example, we should interpret lower privacy concerns among youth as reflective of normal identity development processes in adolescence and young adulthood. Similarly, aspects of gender and temporality can be fruitfully incorporated to the discourse on privacy. On this basis, possible solutions and research directions are outlined to overcome the privacy crisis.

Number of Pages in PDF File: 49

Keywords: privacy, identity, territoriality, cyberspace

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Date posted: February 7, 2014  

Suggested Citation

McMahon, Ciarán and Aiken, Mary, Privacy as Identity Territoriality: Re-Conceptualising Behaviour in Cyberspace (February 4, 2014). Available at SSRN: http://ssrn.com/abstract=2390934 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.2390934

Contact Information

Ciarán McMahon (Contact Author)
RCSI CyberPsychology Research Centre ( email )
Institute of Leadership
Dublin, 18
HOME PAGE: http://cypsy.com
Mary Aiken
RCSI CyberPsychology Research Centre ( email )
Sandyford Industrial Estate
Ballymoss Road
Dublin, D 18
HOME PAGE: http://cypsy.com
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