Privacy: Is There Any Online?

More information is available today than at any other time in history. Whether it's gossip about public figures or ordinary people's private data, information is shared both willingly and unknowingly by everyone who logs onto the internet and social networking sites. Here I explore five important questions to encourage dialogue about one of the biggest issues of the digital age: privacy.


  1. 1. What is privacy and is it a fundamental right?

  2. Privacy is loosely defined under the law as the "right to be left alone." The first publication to advocate for a right to privacy was the Harvard Law Review in 1890. In terms of the Internet and social media sites, a right to privacy remains ambiguous.
  3. Social Media: No Right to Privacy
  4. “For whom should privacy be guaranteed and for whom not? What type of privacy should we struggle for on Facebook?” (Fuchs 2012, p.141).
  5. 2. What do people know about you online?

  6. “Self-disclosure is a common form of communication behavior. The level of personal information one is disclosing depends on the communication partners as well as the specific communication situation.” (Taddicken 2014, p.252).
  7. Social Media Privacy
  8. Oftentimes information you've either entered online or marketers have gathered about you, can easily be found online. Check out to see what marketers know about you (and how correct it is).
  9. 3. Big Date: What can this data do and are we willing to give up privacy for it?

  10. 4. How does being "watched" affect people?

  11. Panopticism and the Virtual World
  12. “The results indicate a high and statistically significant positive correlation between one’s general willingness to self-disclose and actual self-disclose on the Social Web.”(Taddicken 2014, p.264)
  13. 5. What can we do to protect our information online?