Privacy as Identity Territoriality: Re-Conceptualising Behaviour in Cyberspace

49 Pages Posted: 7 Feb 2014

Date Written: 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.

Keywords: privacy, identity, territoriality, cyberspace

Suggested Citation

Mc Mahon, Ciarán and Aiken, Mary, Privacy as Identity Territoriality: Re-Conceptualising Behaviour in Cyberspace (February 4, 2014). Available at SSRN: or

Mary Aiken

RCSI CyberPsychology Research Centre ( email )

Sandyford Industrial Estate
Ballymoss Road
Dublin, D 18


No contact information is available for Ciarán Mc Mahon

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