Skip to Main Content
It looks like you're using Internet Explorer 11 or older. This website works best with modern browsers such as the latest versions of Chrome, Firefox, Safari, and Edge. If you continue with this browser, you may see unexpected results.

WHO are we?: the sum of our data or some other person?

Friends, strangers, corporations, organizations, and shadowy online 'entities' all "REALLY wanna know" as much about you as possible. Often more than you would ever consciously reveal.

News and Current Events

Schneier, Bruce. (2006) "The eternal value of privacy" Wired News May 18.  Schneier on Security archive (accessed May 13, 2014).

Privacy is a requirement for maintaining the human condition with dignity and respect...[it] protects us from abuses by those in power..."the real choice is not security vs privacy, but liberty vs control."

Neyfakh, L. (5/22/11) Ourdata: ourselves Boston Globe. Retrieved from http://www.boston.com/bostonglobe/ideas/articles/2011/05/22/our_data_ourselves/

Books and Government documents

Academic papers

Bambauer, Jane, Krish Muralidhar, Rathindra Sarathy. (2014) "Fool's Gold: an Illustrated Critique of Differential Privacy." Arizona Legal Studies Discussion Paper No. 13-47. Social Science Research Network ID#=2326746 (posted September 2013)     

Differential privacy has taken the privacy community by storm. Computer scientists developed this technique to allow researchers to submit queries to databases without being able to glean sensitive information about the individuals described in the data. Legal scholars champion differential privacy as a practical solution to the competing interests in research and confidentiality, and policymakers are poised to adopt it as the gold standard for data privacy. It would be a disastrous mistake.

This Article provides an illustrated guide to the virtues and pitfalls of differential privacy. While the technique is suitable for a narrow set of research uses, the great majority of analyses would produce results that are beyond absurd: average income in the negative millions, or correlations well above 1, for example.

Rosen, Jeffrey. 2000. "Why Privacy Matters." Wilson Quarterly 24, no. 4: 32. Academic Search Complete, EBSCOhost (accessed May 13, 2014).

A serious but accessible discussion of the importance of privacy even within America's culture of exhibitionism.  The author suggests though some may want the "right to be left alone", others want "the right to comtrol the conditions of their own exposure."