Katz out of the bag: The broader privacy ramifications of using Facebook

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


As the social networking site Facebook has grown in popularity, some scholars have worried about the seemingly nonchalant attitude toward privacy fostered by the website. Privacy attitudes, engendered at Facebook, have implications that stretch far beyond that website. To understand the possible ramifications of these changing attitudes toward privacy, we must examine legal conceptions of privacy, particularly the 1967 Katz v. United States case. With Katz, the Supreme Court created a formal definition of how much privacy a citizen could reasonably expect in the U.S. Privacy became dependent upon individual personhood, not a physical place. Privacy, according to the Supreme Court, is contingent upon the amount of privacy one expects to have. Thus, a site like Facebook, which reduces its users' privacy and creates lowered expectations for privacy, could have serious implications for the offline world. By reducing the level of privacy we expect from a business and within social relationships, Facebook may permanently lower the privacy available to us both online and offline.

Original languageEnglish
JournalProceedings of the ASIST Annual Meeting
StatePublished - Nov 2010


  • Facebook
  • Legal
  • Online
  • Privacy
  • Social Networking
  • Supreme Court

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Information Systems
  • Library and Information Sciences


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