Reframing Privacy

1. Is “Privacy” the Right Frame?

D&S founder danah boyd and affiliate Alice Marwick ask: When policymakers, advocates, educators, and technologists invoke the term ‘privacy’ in an effort to protect low-status individuals, are they using frames that resonate with those communities? If not, are different groups using different language to describe the same experiences and concerns, or are we talking about different concerns altogether?

The goal of danah and Alice’s study is to better understand the language and framing of privacy issues by low-SES youth who may not use the terms or the rubrics of mainstream debates. We need empirical data about cultural frames and expectations in order to build more effective policies, technologies, and educational interventions.

This project is supported by a grant from the Digital Trust Foundation.

2. Privacy and Harm in a Networked Society

Privacy is not something that one has, but something that one seeks to achieve. It requires constant negotiation as information flows and contexts shift. To achieve privacy in a networked world, people must actively try to manage the various social situations in which information is accessed, consumed, interpreted, and shared. They cannot simply focus on restricting the flow of information; they must also account for the ways in which information is inferred and used.

The goal of this project is to better understand how privacy is understood in a networked society and the ways in which control is complicated by the networked nature of information. This project seeks to examine how a theory of networks can better elucidate social, cultural, and legal models of privacy and jurisprudence in a data-centric era.

danah boyd
Claire Fontaine
Karen Levy
Alice E. Marwick

For more information about this initiative, email