Designing for the Privacy Commons [chapter]

Darakhshan J. Mir
2021 Governing Privacy in Knowledge Commons  
This chapter frames privacy enforcement processes through the lens of governance and situated design of sociotechnical systems. It considers the challenges in formulating and designing privacy as commons (as per the Governing Knowledge Commons framework (Sanfilippo, Frischmann, and Strandburg 2018)) when privacy ultimately gets enacted (or not) in complex sociotechnical systems. Privacy has traditionally (in computing, legal, economic, and other scholarly communities) been conceptualized in an
more » ... ndividualistic framing, often as a private good that is traded off against other goods. In this framing, meaningful decision-making processes about one's data are available to oneself, and any resulting decisions are assumed to impact only one's own self. While social scientists have articulated and studied social conceptualizations of privacy (Petronio and Altman 2002; Altman 1975), the dominant public and scholarly discourse on privacy has been that of individualized control, with characterizations such as informed consent, and "notice and choice" being particularly prominent. An important conceptualization of the social nature of privacy that has found expression in policy and technical practices is due to Helen Nissenbaum, whose articulation of privacy as Contextual Integrity (Nissenbaum 2009) rests on the notion of information flows between social actors within a specific social context. The Contextual Integrity (CI) framework states that privacy is preserved when any arising information flows comply with contextual informational norms and, conversely, privacy is violated when contextual norms are breached. In other words, flows are appropriate when they comply with (privacy) norms and (prima facie) inappropriate when these norms are disrupted. While CI is a powerful framework that foregrounds social conceptualizations of privacy, the contextual norms themselves are exogenous to it. Yet, the fundamentally political question of who has the power and authority to decide what is appropriate is inextricably linked to high-level moral and political values of a society, and the contextual functions, purposes, and values that practices, as per CI, must serve. In order to directly engage with these questions, the Governing 245
doi:10.1017/9781108749978.011 fatcat:cq2zldp5rfa3hnuassmmjig5ka