Our Data, Ourselves: Privacy, Propertization, and Gender

75 Pages Posted: 9 Apr 2003

See all articles by Ann Bartow

Ann Bartow

Franklin Pierce Center for IP at UNH Law


This Article starts by providing an overview of the types of personal data that is collected via the Internet, and the ways in which this information is used. The author asserts that because women are more likely to shop and share information in cyberspace, the impact of commodification of personal data disproportionately impacts females, enabling them to be "targeted" by marketing campaigns, and stripping them of personal privacy. The author then surveys the legal terrain of personal information privacy, and concludes that it is unlikely that the government will step in to provide consumers with substantive privacy rights or protections. Finally, the author asserts that perhaps intellectual property rights, so powerful in other contexts, can be adapted to provide individuals with ownership and control over their personal information. While "high barrier" intellectual property protections are in many respects detrimental to society, the author argues that if corporations are entitled to benefit from then and "own" information, then individuals should be as well. Ownership of information by individuals allows them to fashion something resembling privacy in personal data.

Keywords: Internet, cyberspace, privacy, information, data, database, gender, propertization, intellectual property

JEL Classification: K11, K12, K20, K39, K42

Suggested Citation

Bartow, Ann, Our Data, Ourselves: Privacy, Propertization, and Gender. University of San Francisco Law Review, Vol. 34, p. 633, Summer 2000. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=374101 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.374101

Ann Bartow (Contact Author)

Franklin Pierce Center for IP at UNH Law ( email )

Two White Street
Concord, NH 03301
United States

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