Reconceptualizing Digital Privacy: Examining Two Alternatives in the 2016 Presidential Election

By Arthur Soto-Vásquez.

Published by Journal of Communication and Media Studies

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Article: Print $US10.00
Article: Electronic $US5.00

Following the Snowden revelations of pervasive surveillance by the National Security Agency, Pew has found 46% of Americans still support the mass collection of data. While there was significant outrage after the revelations, the controversy has fallen out of the public eye and the surveillance state remains intact. In addition, commercial and political data collection by companies and campaigns also present threats to privacy. In 2010, Mark Zuckerberg of facebook declared “the age of privacy is over,” and other technology leaders have told the public to “get over it,” when it comes to privacy concerns. The digital age, where almost all commercial, political, and personal activity occurs, presents new ways to understand and conceptualize online activity. In this paper I argue the traditional activities understood to be the domain of online privacy – sharing social media update, commercial transactions, news gathering – can be reframed through the economic conceptions of labor and currency. This paper uses the 2016 presidential election campaigns as case studies in analyzing how online political privacy can be understood in a new context. As a result, this work reframes the debate over online privacy from a research perspective and also from a public facing perspective.

Keywords: Political Privacy, Digital Labor, Digital Currency

The Journal of Communication and Media Studies, Volume 2, Issue 2, pp.33-45. Article: Print (Spiral Bound). Article: Electronic (PDF File; 670.698KB).

Arthur Soto-Vásquez

Doctoral Fellow, Department of Communication, American University, Washington, DC, USA

Arthur D. Soto-Vásquez is a Doctoral Fellow at American University in Washington D.C.