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Restoring balance : how history tilts the scales against privacy : an actor-network theory investigation.

Research output: Contribution to Journal/MagazineJournal articlepeer-review

<mark>Journal publication date</mark>04/2009
<mark>Journal</mark>Information and Organization
Issue number2
Number of pages19
Pages (from-to)84-102
Publication StatusPublished
<mark>Original language</mark>English


In this paper we problematize the metaphor of balance employed in the area of information privacy. Using Actor-Network Theory we conduct an historical investigation into the continuous release of the same personal data over the course of eight decades. Through the examination of actual enactments of balance over time we find that, in practice, balancing acts are conducted at local levels by local actor-networks within organizations, with limited overall organizational knowledge, raising challenges around interpreting statements made by organizational spokespersons. We also find a surprising lack of knowledge possessed by these local actor-networks about what is subsequently done with personal data and the extent to which networks that extend beyond the organization gravitate towards and form around available data. Through tracing and revealing this historical Actor-Network Theory investigation provides a means of probing and examining actual acts of balance in the area of information privacy and, through revelation, aid in the creation of the possibility of bringing the act of balance more in line with the concept.