Ubiquity, Visibility, and Privacy in the Digital Era

By David Winston Overbey.

Published by Ubiquitous Learning: An International Journal

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Article: Print $US10.00
Article: Electronic $US5.00

Current dilemmas about privacy in digital environments parallel and exacerbate problems long connected to privacy in city life. Online privacy issues that involve drastic consequences such as public disgrace and suicide raise troubling questions about the role of privacy in a digital age rooted in an urban culture characterized by the need to build public trust while maintaining privacy, a need unique to cities. Since the problem of privacy is not exclusive to digital environments but endemic to an urban culture that both antedates and provides digital environments with a cultural coherence, an analysis of online social interaction as a mimesis of city life offers an explanatory means for understanding how and when digital environments work against individual privacy and public trust. Such a theoretical framework reveals digital environments pose additional threats to privacy and obstacles to establishing trust than cities do, especially when it comes to social rather than professional interaction.

Keywords: Digital Environments, Networking, City Life, Trust, Privacy

Ubiquitous Learning: An International Journal, Volume 3, Issue 4, pp.35-44. Article: Print (Spiral Bound). Article: Electronic (PDF File; 723.395KB).

Dr. David Winston Overbey

Assistant Professor, English, Bellarmine University, Louisville, KY, USA

Dr. Overbey recently published a chapter titled “The Mutual Presence of RP-7 and the Future of Virtual Collaborative Writing” in Virtual Collaborative Writing in the Workplace: Computer-Mediated Technologies and Processes (2010, Information Reference Science). His current research focus examines how digital technologies are adapted to social practice. He received his PhD in Literacy, Rhetoric, and Social Practice from Kent State University in 2007. He has presented at three international conferences on literacy and technology. He is currently an Assistant Professor of English at Bellarmine University, USA, where he specializes in teaching writing and rhetoric in convergent media.