Oscar Gandy on public opinion surveys and the formation of privacy policy


Professor Oscar Gandy's "Public Opinion Surveys and the Formation of Privacy Policy" appears in the latest Journal of Social Issues (Volume 59, Number 2, 2003).

Abstract: The laws that condition the boundaries that separate the public eye from the private spheres shape our expectations of privacy. Public opinion helps to shape the development and implementation of those laws. Commercial firms in the information-intensive industries have been the primary sponsors of public opinion surveys introduced into the testimony as assessments of the public's will. Representatives of business and consumer organizations have relied upon the same industry-sponsored surveys to frame their arguments in support of or in opposition to specific privacy policies. In the past 25 years, references to public opinion have been used to frame the public as concerned, differentiated and, most recently, as willing to negotiate their privacy demands.