Privacy and the Struggle to Preserve it: Reevaluating Big Tech through Contemporary Literature
Tang, Veronica Jean
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CitationTang, Veronica Jean. 2022. Privacy and the Struggle to Preserve it: Reevaluating Big Tech through Contemporary Literature. Bachelor's thesis, Harvard College.
AbstractThis thesis redefines privacy and illuminates struggles to preserve it by examining data and surveillance through the lens of contemporary literature. In my first chapter, I propose a new framework with which to understand data privacy by drawing on literary theories of authorship. Just as there is a difference between an author’s biographical self and the “second self” that they present through their work, consumers should have the ability to shape representations of themselves that they put forward in their “work,” or rather, the repository of their personal data. In my second chapter, I define a new genre, the “tech gothic,” which adapts the gothic to the new landscape of Big Tech. The three novels examined in this thesis – New Waves by Kevin Nguyen, Little Brother by Corey Doctorow, and The Circle by Dave Eggers – engage with privacy crises in the tech industry and issues of government surveillance. I analyze them alongside contemporary privacy legislation, documentation of recent privacy preserving technology, and reports of historical incidents involving privacy and Big Tech. I examine anxieties and challenges related to implementing data privacy, with the goal of understanding how they impact practices and products in contemporary technology.
Citable link to this pagehttps://nrs.harvard.edu/URN-3:HUL.INSTREPOS:37371727
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