About the Workshop

Since Irwin Altman’s research on privacy as control first appeared in the 1970s [4], a number of prominent scholars of have examined information privacy—both on- and offline—as a boundary regulation process—that is, the process of disclosing more/less and being more/less accessible to others (e.g., [29]). As networked privacy researchers, we often emphasize how sharing too much can expose individuals to undesired audiences or outcomes, or leave users vulnerable to interactional or physical privacy harms.

That said, being too private can also lead to negative outcomes, such as isolation and loneliness, or being unable to obtain needed social, informational, and tangible resources [11]. For instance, machine learning research shows how personal information can be leveraged to create powerful personalized experiences [1,5,37,44], and health IT studies have shown that patients often need others to be aware of personal health information in order to provide more beneficial care or intervention in life-threatening situations [31]. On the political stage, there is a renewed focus on balancing an individual’s right to privacy versus national security [10]. Consequently, privacy research has been criticized for ignoring other values that, in all but a few real world situations, need to be reconciled with privacy [35].

These tensions suggest that privacy might not always be in the user’s best interest or in the best interest of society. While this assertion may seem obvious, a large portion of the empirical, theoretical, and design-based research on networked privacy continues to focus solely on how to protect individuals from unwanted access and over-sharing. These studies range from designing better privacy defaults to raising privacy awareness to more algorithmic approaches that nudge users toward being more private.

Given this emphasis on trying to increase privacy protection for end users, the primary goal of this workshop is to initiate a discussion on the real, potential, and imagined ethical concerns associated with such a privacy-focused agenda. The workshop shifts the current discussions around user and data privacy from focusing on boundary regulation processes to evaluating how multiple competing values—and especially values around privacy and ethics—shape research and design processes. Over the course of one day, we will bring together researchers and practitioners from the broader CSCW and ACM community to develop heuristics to guide privacy and ethical decision-making in regard to both research design and designs for privacy protection.

The workshop will feature a panel by academic and industry experts working in this space. Participants include:



[1] Elizabeth Aguirre, Anne L. Roggeveen, Dhruv Grewal, and Martin Wetzels. 2016. The personalization-privacy paradox: implications for new media. Journal of Consumer Marketing 33, 2: 98–110. https://doi.org/10.1108/JCM-06-2015-1458

[4] Irwin Altman. 1975. The Environment and Social Behavior: Privacy, Personal Space, Territory, and Crowding. Retrieved October 18, 2016 from http://eric.ed.gov/?id=ED131515

[5]  Naveen Farag Awad and M. S. Krishnan. The Personalization Privacy Paradox: An Empirical Evaluation of Information Transparency and the Willingness to be Profiled Online for Personalization. MIS Quarterly 30, 1: 13–28.

[10] Richard A. Clarke, Michael J. Morell, Geoffrey R. Stone, Cass R. Sunstein, and Peter Swire. 2014. The NSA Report: Liberty and Security in a Changing World. Princeton University Press.

[11]  Nicole B. Ellison and Jessica Vitak. 2015. Social network site affordances and their relationship to social capital processes. In The Handbook of the Psychology of Communication Technology, S. Shyam Sundar (ed.). John Wiley & Sons.

[29] Gautham Pallapa, Sajal K. Das, Mario Di Francesco, and Tuomas Aura. 2014. Adaptive and context-aware privacy preservation exploiting user interactions in smart environments. Pervasive and Mobile Computing 12: 232–243. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.pmcj.2013.12.004

[31] Aarathi Prasad. 2012. Exposing Privacy Concerns in mHealth Data Sharing. Retrieved October 18, 2016 from http://www.cs.dartmouth.edu/reports/TR2012-711.pdf

[35] Sarah Spiekermann. 2012. The Challenges of Privacy by Design. ACM 55, 7: 38–40. https://doi.org/10.1145/2209249.2209263

[37] Julia Sutanto, Elia Palme, Chuan-Hoo Tan, and Chee Wei Phang. 2013. Addressing the Personalization-Privacy Paradox: An Empirical Assessment from a Field Experiment on Smartphone Users. MIS Quarterly 37, 4: 1141–1164.

[44] Heng Xu, Xin (Robert) Luo, John M. Carroll, and Mary Beth Rosson. 2011. The personalization privacy paradox: An exploratory study of decision making process for location-aware marketing. Decision Support Systems 51, 1: 42–52. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.dss.2010.11.017