• Privacy Was Doomed by Imagining it as Property

    It's impossible to consider the full meaning of privacy in society because courts and popular culture have construed the term to mean a kind of property that can be properly or improperly appropriated by another, instead of a kind of social relationship. 

  • Are You Ready to Be Surveilled Like a Sex Worker?

    by Olivia Snow

    A moral panic over sex trafficking has justified the development of an extensive electronic infrastructure of surveillance and punishment of sex workers. These are the tools other women can expect to have used against them if they seek (or seek to learn about) abortions or associate online with others who do.

  • Vaccinated? Show Us Your App

    Medical historian Michael Willrich says that the prospect of smartphone-based credentialing to demonstrate an individual has been vaccinated is potentially invasive of privacy and the control of health data by private interests. 

  • Who Owns the Evidence of Slavery’s Violence?

    by Thomas A. Foster

    A lawsuit demands that Harvard University give custody of famous images of enslaved men and women--taken without consent by a biologist seeking to demonstrate white supremacy-- to the subjects' descendents. A Howard University historian agrees, putting the images in context of other intimate violations endured by enslaved persons. 

  • Archivists in France fight privacy initiative

    SERRAVAL, France — As a European proposal to bolster digital privacy safeguards faces intense lobbying from Silicon Valley and other powerful groups in Brussels, an obscure but committed group has joined in the campaign to keep personal data flourishing online.One of the European Union’s measures would grant Internet users a “right to be forgotten,” letting them delete damaging references to themselves in search engines, or drunken party photos from social networks. But a group of French archivists, the people whose job it is to keep society’s records, is asking: What about our collective right to keep a record even of some things that others might prefer to forget?The archivists and their counteroffensive might seem out of step, as concern grows about American surveillance of Internet traffic around the world. But the archivists say the right to be forgotten, as it has become known, could complicate the collection and digitization of mundane public documents — birth reports, death notices, real estate transactions and the like — that form a first draft of history....