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CITP Luncheon Speaker Series: Helen Nissenbaum – Respect for Context as a Privacy Benchmark: What it is, and isn’t

Tuesday, April 7, 2015
12:30 pm


Sherrerd Hall, 3rd floor open space
Princeton, NJ 08544 United States + Google Map

Streaming Live:

Food and discussion begin at 12:30 pm. Open to current Princeton faculty, staff, and students. Open to members of the public by invitation only. Please contact Laura Cummings-Abdo at if you are interested in attending a particular lunch.

In February 2012, the Obama White House unveiled its Consumer Privacy Bill of Rights, comprising seven principles. The third, “Respect for Contexts,” requires companies that “collect, use, and disclose personal data,” to do so, “in ways that are consistent with the context in which consumers provide the data.” I argue that certain interpretations, favored by influential parties in the privacy debate, offer little hope for progress beyond the status quo, and suggest, instead, an interpretation derived from the theory of contextual integrity. Given the recurring presence of “context” in the February 2015 Administration Discussion Draft, this issue will be decisive for robust privacy policy in the near future.


Helen Nissenbaum is a Visiting Fellow at CITP for the spring of 2015, and she is a Professor of Media, Culture and Communication, and Computer Science, at New York University, where she is Director of the Information Law Institute. She has written and edited eight books, including Privacy, Big Data and the Public Good: Frameworks for Engagement, with J. Lane, V. Stodden and S. Bender (Cambridge, 2014), Values at Play in Digital Games, with M. Flanagan (MIT Press, 2014), and Privacy in Context: Technology, Policy, and the Integrity of Social Life (Stanford, 2010). The National Science Foundation, Air Force Office of Scientific Research, Ford Foundation, U.S. Department of Homeland Security, and the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Office of the National Coordinator have supported her work on privacy, trust online, and security, as well as several studies of values embodied in computer system design, search engines, digital games, facial recognition technology, and health information systems. Nissenbaum holds a Ph.D. in philosophy from Stanford University and a B.A. (Hons) from the University of the Witwatersrand. Before joining the faculty at NYU, she served as Associate Director of the Center for Human Values at Princeton University.