On April 6-8, 2016, the Center for the Study of American Democracy at Kenyon College will hold its fourth biennial conference, this year oriented around The Expectation of Privacy.
The question involves everyone who owns a smart phone, uses the internet, or is even present in modern society. One’s online identity, health records, economic data, and merely one’s daily habits are increasingly being tracked and stored in private, commercial, and government databases of various kinds.
The changing concept of an “expectation of privacy” references the 1967 U.S. Supreme Court case Katz v. U.S. To the extent that the expectation of privacy diminishes, so too the distinction between public and private becomes more questionable, and yet that distinction formed the basis for Western liberal democracy and the idea of limited government. Technological, commercial, and security developments appear to make “the private sphere” a vanishing space. At the same time, new technologies may also contribute to greater discretion.
Over the course of three days, the conference will take place on the Kenyon campus in Gambier, Ohio, and will involve broad student, faculty, and campus participation, as well as programming throughout the 2015-16 academic year.
The conference includes public panels and private discussions, with participants from a variety of fields: journalists, former government officials, policy analysts, artists, and academics from a variety of disciplines.