Technology's role in the social construction of American privacy, 1890-present
MetadataShow full item record
The histories of American technology and American privacy norms were connected using Stewart Brand’s six layers of civilization (Fashion/art, Commerce, Infrastructure, Governance, Culture, and Nature) to describe shifts in cultural authority over time. The study shows that privacy rhetoric is most often a cultural resistance to periods of technological change, and that over time this rhetoric has called for and received authority from different layers of cultural authority. The study shows how institutional forces (social pressure, then tort law, finally constitutional law) have become increasingly politicized since the Constitution was written, leading Americans to rely on increasingly shallower and superficial layers of cultural negotiation to solve social problems (relying on speed, not permanence). This trend leads the researcher to conclude that future appeals will not likely be resolved by nature, culture or law, but by the infrastructure layer (technology) or even higher levels of cultural authority.