In the age of Big Data, privacy is no longer a purely individual matter. Big Tech has the capacity to take information about single individual’s and then infer information about countless others. This information, garnered through invasions of privacy, is the lifeblood of Big Tech. It is used to undermine citizen autonomy which in turn threatens the legitimacy of democratic systems. My research examines the ways in which tech is able to manipulate citizens, using private data, and how this affects our ability to act autonomously. I suggest that, in the age of Big Data, there is a need to re-examine our traditional understanding of privacy as an individual good and reframe it as a public utility that should be protected for the good of society as a whole.
Supervisor: Dr Tanya de Villiers-Botha