The privacy box: A software proposal

Woodrow Hartzog


The contradiction of social networks is that revealing of personal, private information can have harmful consequences, yet users continue to disclose such information at an alarming rate. Ironically, the advent of social network sites opens the possibility of a relatively safe place to disclose private information. This article proposes a “privacy box” application to be used within social network sites that would require users to accept a pre–written promise of confidentiality before gaining access to personal information. Although it would not serve as a universal remedy for privacy harms on social network sites, it could serve to carve out a space for relatively safe self–disclosure online.


privacy; software; social network sites; confidentiality; disclosure

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