Does Privacy Require Secrecy? Societal Expectations of Privacy in the Digital Age
41 Pages Posted: 18 Mar 2016
Date Written: 2015
This paper presents the results of empirical research assessing societal expectations of privacy in digital information. In recent years, with advancements in technology and an increase in the amount of personal information that individuals disclose online, courts have struggled to determine the application of the Fourth Amendment, specifically the Katz reasonable expectation of privacy test, to that information. Although courts frequently make assertions about individual expectations of privacy in the context of the Fourth Amendment, they rarely base these assertions on empirical data. The goal of the study on which this article is based was to collect data that would assist courts in understanding individual’s subjective expectations of privacy. In 2014, we conducted a survey of over 1200 individuals asking them about privacy expectations in a variety of information. Overall, we found that individuals consistently have significantly high expectations in virtually all of their digital information, even information in which courts have held that they have no expectation of privacy.
Keywords: privacy, fourth amendment, criminal procedure
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation