What is privacy?

Myron, Matthew (2008) What is privacy? BSc dissertation, University of Portsmouth.

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    Since its launch in February 2004, Facebook has grown from a communication portal for Harvard students to one of the most trafficked sites on the internet with over 55 million users around the world (Facebook, 2007). During its short lifespan, Facebook has attracted much criticism focused mainly on the issue of privacy. With users apparently posting data and photos with little consideration of the potential privacy threats, the matter of whether privacy is an issue on Facebook needs addressing. In contrast, the issue to look at is whether there is such a thing as 'privacy' on Facebook or whether it has in fact adopted its own privacy norms. Finding answers to these issues will provide a better understanding of user's behaviour in this new medium. Using secondary research by professionals in the field, backed up with primary research in the form of a questionnaire, various issues and aspects of social networking and Facebook in particular will be addressed to understand the meaning of privacy on Facebook and the effects this is having both on society and the individual user. Gaining users firsthand experience through questionnaire feedback, this data can be analysed to show the behaviour, actions and opinions of some users to see whether this corresponds with prior research in the area. Academic work (Boyd, 2007) prior to this report has shown that Facebook users are relatively oblivious to the fact that Facebook poses risks to user privacy and safety. Displaying large quantities of sensitive data to millions of unknown users is one sign that a large number of users are not fully aware of dangers surrounding the Facebook platform. With results from the primary research highlighting profound issues surrounding privacy and safety, there are growing concerns as to whether the modern privacy practices of many users are appropriate in a rapidly changing networked society.

    Item Type: Dissertation
    Departments/Research Groups: Faculty of Technology > School of Computing
    Depositing User: Jane Polwin
    Date Deposited: 20 Jan 2011 12:48
    Last Modified: 28 Jan 2015 11:14
    URI: http://eprints.port.ac.uk/id/eprint/543

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