About this event
Advances in digital technologies have stirred great anxiety over threats to privacy, in turn, spawning concentrated efforts to pin point the sources of these threats and to understand the nature of privacy and its value to individuals and societies. The theory of contextual integrity traces privacy threats to novel, technology-enabled practices that disrupt information flows, in particular, flows that contravene entrenched, context specific informational norms. The theory further contends that although some norms will give way in the face of novel practices, norms that deserve strong protection, on ethical grounds, are those that not only serve the interests of individual data subjects, but also support the integrity of critical societal institutions and their associated ends and values. The talk will trace the origins of contextual integrity to philosophical analysis, but will reveal ways that the theory has been profoundly shaped and sharpened through cross-disciplinary collaborations with computer, data, and social scientists as well as engineers and legal scholars. As privacy researchers and advocates are increasingly looking to technological means to safeguard privacy (e.g. through initiatives such as privacy-by-design, and Privacy Enhancing Technologies, PETs) there is an increasing need to elucidate design and implementation with meaningful operational definitions. Interpretive and pragmatic lenses of the sciences and engineering have sustained contextual integrity’s relevance to policy, practice, and design.
Helen Nissenbaum is Professor of Media, Culture, and Communication, and Computer Science, at New York University, where she is also Director of the Information Law Institute. Her work spans societal, ethical, and political dimensions of information technology and digital media. Prof. Nissenbaum's eight books include Obfuscation: A User's Guide for Privacy and Protest, with F. Brunton (MIT Press, 2015), Values at Play in Digital Games, with M. Flanagan (MIT Press, 2014), and Privacy in Context: Technology, Policy, and the Integrity of Social Life (Stanford, 2010). Her research has been published in journals of philosophy, politics, law, media studies, information studies, and computer science. The National Science Foundation, Air Force Office of Scientific Research, Ford Foundation, and the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Office of the National Coordinator have supported her work on privacy, trust online, and security, as well as studies of values embodied in design, search engines, digital games, facial recognition technology, and health information systems. Recipient of the 2014 Barwise Prize of the American Philosophical Association, Prof. Nissenbaum has contributed to privacy-enhancing software, including TrackMeNot and AdNauseam. Prof. Nissenbaum holds a Ph.D. in philosophy from Stanford University and a B.A. (Hons) from the University of the Witwatersrand. Before joining the faculty at NYU, she served as Associate Director of the Center for Human Values at Princeton University.
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