IRS Patrick Cichy
Thursday, 11 June 2015, 2 pm, TIM Social Area
On the Evolution of Privacy Norms
Today, information disclosure decisions are characterized by their growing ubiquity and complexity. Endowed with limited cognitive resources, individuals therefore rely ever more on heuristic decision-making rather than on rational choice. We argue that collective privacy norms serve as such a heuristic that guides individuals in their disclosure decisions and gradually replaces the individual privacy calculus. To gain insights into the evolution of privacy norms over time, we trace their interplay with technological innovation by exploring 35 years of technology-related privacy discourse in The New York Times. When unpacking the dynamics of privacy norms and their salience for disclosure decision-making in such a way, privacy norms emerge as fragile social constructions that are increasingly vulnerable to collective myopia and purposive manipulation. Insights into the evolution, efficiency, and behavioral implications of privacy norms will transform the way we study and ought to protect privacy in the digital age.