Impressions of Privacy in the Media: Does Greater Public Awareness of Privacy Concerns Influence Legislative Action?

25 Pages Posted: 22 Jan 2013 Last revised: 19 Aug 2013

Caroline Golin

Georgia Institute of Technology

Date Written: June 1, 2012

Abstract

Conceptions about privacy have historically been challenged by new technologies. Cultural ideas about privacy tacitly presuppose a certain social and technological environment – one in which wrong is defined by both the feasibility of society and the wrongdoer. However, as new technologies emerge, new wrongs – and possibilities for wrongs – can occur, challenging the tacit presuppositions on which conceptions of privacy formerly relied. Over the past decade, the emerging landscape of digital communication technologies has transformed all aspects of society – from the way people shop, to the way people bank, to the way the people date. These massive shifts have left many Americans concerned over the privacy of their personal lives and information and many policy makers scrambling to make sense of digital technology’s new primacy in our nations’ concepts of civil liberty. Our purpose in this white paper is to add to the transforming policy debate surrounding technology and privacy. Our interest is the relationship between public understanding on the issues and actors surrounding technology and privacy and government’s response. Specifically we question whether public awareness of privacy violations results in government action at the legislative level. The study asks four main questions. First, how do different media outlets shape public awareness of privacy issues? Second, is there a correlation between media coverage and government discourse? Third, does increased media coverage result in any momentum towards legislative action or regulation? And fourth, what implications do the answers have on the analysis and debate of privacy policy and for the design and development of information systems? Answers to these questions will aide in future I3P research by providing a better understanding on the relationship between beliefs about individual privacy, information technologies, and data security. Further, a better understanding of whether public awareness translates into legislative action can aide in informing policy makers on the effectiveness of information policy as well as science and technology policy.

Keywords: privacy, media, periodicals, public

Suggested Citation

Golin, Caroline, Impressions of Privacy in the Media: Does Greater Public Awareness of Privacy Concerns Influence Legislative Action? (June 1, 2012). Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2204447 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.2204447

Caroline Golin (Contact Author)

Georgia Institute of Technology ( email )

Atlanta, GA 30332
United States

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