Abstract - The Information Society 30(4)


Privacy and Narrativity in the Internet Era

J. C. Buitelaar

Individuals try to guard their right to privacy by exercising their right to informational self-determination. They thereby hope to retain control over their identity, which they construct over time by interpreting how their past relates to their present. In a similar vein, historians try to make sense of the past by way of interpreting past events. The theory of narrative identity helps to understand these processes. By an explorative discussion of narrative techniques, historiographical methods including the art of (auto)biography and the role they play in identity construction, this article aims to give fresh insights into the theory of informational self-determination. An analysis is presented of three types of attempts by individuals to gain control of their digital double, in an effort to maintain their personal dignity. With the lessons learned, an indication is given of the viability of the principle of informational self-determination in the Internet era.

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