Is Privacy Privacy?

376 Phil. Trans. R. Soc. A 20170358 (2018)

Berkman Klein Center Research Publication No. 2018-5

20 Pages Posted: 18 Oct 2018

See all articles by Kobbi Nissim

Kobbi Nissim

Ben-Gurion University of the Negev

Alexandra Wood

Harvard University - Berkman Klein Center for Internet & Society

Date Written: September 21, 2018

Abstract

This position paper observes how different technical and normative conceptions of privacy have evolved in parallel and describes the practical challenges that these divergent approaches pose. Notably, past technologies relied on intuitive, heuristic understandings of privacy that have since been shown not to satisfy expectations for privacy protection. With computations ubiquitously integrated in almost every aspect of our lives, it is increasingly important to ensure that privacy technologies provide protection that is in line with relevant social norms and normative expectations. Similarly, it is also important to examine social norms and normative expectations with respect to the evolving scientific study of privacy. To this end, we argue for a rigorous analysis of the mapping from normative to technical concepts of privacy and vice versa. We review the landscape of normative and technical definitions of privacy and discuss specific examples of gaps between definitions that are relevant in the context of privacy in statistical computation. We then identify opportunities for overcoming their differences in the design of new approaches to protecting privacy in accordance with both technical and normative standards.

Suggested Citation

Nissim, Kobbi and Wood, Alexandra, Is Privacy Privacy? (September 21, 2018). 376 Phil. Trans. R. Soc. A 20170358 (2018); Berkman Klein Center Research Publication No. 2018-5. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3255646

Kobbi Nissim (Contact Author)

Ben-Gurion University of the Negev ( email )

1 Ben-Gurion Blvd
Beer-Sheba 84105, 84105
Israel

Alexandra Wood

Harvard University - Berkman Klein Center for Internet & Society ( email )

Harvard Law School
23 Everett, 2nd Floor
Cambridge, MA 02138
United States

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