Conference at Kenyon College on Privacy and Technology

The Expectation of Privacy: Encryption, Surveillance, and Big Data

The Center for the Study of American Democracy at Kenyon College in Gambier, Ohio, will hold its fourth biennial conference, this year oriented around The Expectation of Privacy. The conference will involve broad student, faculty and campus participation and also programming throughout the 2015-16 academic year.

The theme involves everyone who owns a smart phone, uses the internet or is even present in modern society. Online identity, health records, economic data and daily habits are increasingly tracked and stored in private, commercial and government databases.

As the expectation of privacy diminishes, the distinction between public and private becomes more questionable – and yet that distinction forms the basis of Western liberal democracy and the idea of limited government. Technological, commercial and security developments seem to make “the private sphere” a vanishing space while, at the same time, new technologies contribute to greater discretion.

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