WHAT IS PRIVACY LITERACY FOR?
Keywords:privacy literacy, datafication, critical pedagogy
AbstractNetworked devices, sensors, and the algorithmic processes that power them pervade nearly all facets of daily life. These systems are designed by an elite class of experts and powered by data extracted from populations of people. Many people remain unaware of what data these systems extract and how systems and institutions use data, raising significant questions about privacy. One response to such concerns is to call for educational efforts that increase people’s understanding, or literacy, of digital data flows. Literacy is often regarded as an end in itself, an unquestionably good thing. Yet literacy does not operate autonomously. Teaching someone to understand something does not automatically improve their life. Privacy literacy efforts thus need to be explicit about what they seek to accomplish. In other words, what is privacy literacy for? I argue that privacy literacy efforts should harness education to mobilize people toward changing the technological _and_ social conditions that discipline subjects toward advancing institutional goals. To avoid perpetuating oppressive power dynamics, I advocate that privacy literacy efforts embody a critical pedagogy where teachers and students learn from each other about what privacy means, how data-driven systems do and don’t afford privacy, and what needs to change to create worlds where people can flourish. I also recommend that privacy literacy efforts align with social movements whose visions identify paths away from extraction and toward relations that respect the inherent humanity of data.
How to Cite
Kumar, P. (2023). WHAT IS PRIVACY LITERACY FOR?. AoIR Selected Papers of Internet Research, 2022. https://doi.org/10.5210/spir.v2022i0.13037