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Undergraduate Lecture Series (H3): The Value of Privacy in Flows of Information

Date & Time:
16:00:00 - 17:30:00,
Monday 31 January, 2011


This lecture explores the relationship between technology and privacy. New technologies make it easy to gather and process personal data and this has directly affected the value, function and feasibility of privacy. The ‘footprints’ we leave behind in everyday life and the massive processing of personal information is threatening to turn us into transparent and easily controlled subjects. On the other hand this openness in flows of information can also create benefits for individuals.

In this lecture we shall explore the effects of new digital technologies on our privacy. Privacy has many dimensions and can be viewed from many different perspectives, including political policies, the rights of citizens, and the protection of consumers. Some of the questions that will be discussed:

  • What is privacy and why is it important?

  • Why are people freely giving up personal and private information while at the same time claiming to be concerned about their privacy (known as the ‘privacy paradox’)?

  • Is the death of privacy inevitable or are there social, technical and legal solutions to protecting privacy?

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  • Dr Anne-Marie Oostveen
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Oxford Internet Institute