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Privacy Literacy and Its Problems.
In view of ever more emerging risks for informational privacy in the context of digital technologies, there is no doubt about a great demand for privacy literacy. Privacy literacy aims at empowering technology users. They shall learn and ultimately possess a range of competences and abilities to control personal information. In the end, they shall know how to protect their privacy online. In this article, arguments are put forward which show that the discourse on privacy literacy entails several problems. First, issues revolve around social inequalities regarding privacy literacy. People who are the most vulnerable to risks are also the least capable of becoming privacy literate. second, the research on privacy literacy arrives at false assumptions about the supposed rationality of media users. Erroneously, it assumes that they constantly calculate risks against benefits when using online platforms and services. Third, privacy literacy is almost solely concerned with frontend features, where people can change privacy settings, remove posts, delete sensitive information, et cetera. however, this leads to a disregard of many privacy risks, which are situated in the backend of platforms. last, the discourse on privacy literacy tacitly agrees with the circumstance that individual media users are rendered responsible for tasks, which previously have been the duty of the state. There is a transfer of responsibility from the state to the individual citizen, although the state is the only actor who is able to govern IT companies, regulate algorithms, and effectively protect the informational privacy of individual media users. They themselves cannot undertake this task, even when they are privacy literate.
Journal of Information Ethics, 2018, Vol 27, Issue 2, p127
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