Does Privacy Require Secrecy? Societal Expectations of Privacy in the Digital Age

41 Pages Posted: 18 Mar 2016  

Christine S. Scott-Hayward

California State University, Long Beach - School of Criminology, Criminal Justice, and Emergency Management

Henry Fradella

Arizona State University - School of Criminology and Criminal Justice

Ryan Fischer

California State University, Long Beach - College of Health and Human Services

Date Written: 2015

Abstract

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

Scott-Hayward, Christine S. and Fradella, Henry and Fischer, Ryan, Does Privacy Require Secrecy? Societal Expectations of Privacy in the Digital Age (2015). American Journal of Criminal Law, Vol. 43, 2015 . Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2748935

Christine Sarah Scott-Hayward (Contact Author)

California State University, Long Beach - School of Criminology, Criminal Justice, and Emergency Management ( email )

1250 Bellflower Blvd.
Long Beach, CA 90840-4601
United States

Henry Fradella

Arizona State University - School of Criminology and Criminal Justice ( email )

411 North Central Avenue, Suite 600
Phoenix, AZ 85004-0685
United States

Ryan Fischer

California State University, Long Beach - College of Health and Human Services ( email )

Long Beach, CA 90840
United States

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