Privacy, the Self, and the Problems of Third Party Disclosure

Summer 2019

Zoe Kiely : Interdisciplinary Studies

Donor: Pease Fund
Mentor: Shreeharsh Kelkar

Much of modern life has become intertwined with disclosing personal information to third parties. Email, social media, GPS, search history, etc., all contain intimate parts of ourselves, but this information is under third-party control. Traditional Fourth Amendment guarantees of persons, houses, papers, and effects are increasingly more difficult to protect when the boundaries of self have evolved beyond our own individual body and belongings and into a digital space controlled by third parties. With this friction between between the limits of identity and third-party controlled personal information, individual privacy has found a loose foothold in the recently passed California Consumer Privacy Act (CCPA). Nevertheless, the ability for companies to charge a fee for consumers opting out of data collection can affect how much digital personal information is valued, raising questions about the extent to which privacy is affected by cost barriers and third-party personal information disclosure. My research will explore how self-identity and third-party disclosure of personal information affect privacy and its perceived value.

I am ever so grateful to the Pease Fund for supporting my endeavors into researching privacy in the modern age. SURF has been an absolutely essential part of the research process for my thesis in both the early developmental and data collection stages. Beyond simply starting my thesis research early, the SURF program transformed and molded the scope of my research to explore qualitative analysis more thoroughly. Additionally, self-guided research is a great way to enhance time management skills!