Year

2020

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy

Department

School of Humanities and Social Enquiry

Abstract

Privacy on the internet has increasingly become an issue of grave importance to citizens, businesses and governments alike evidenced in the recent breaches involving Facebook, WhatsApp and WikiLeaks, where large amounts of data have been disseminated to corporate and government entities. The aim of this research is to investigate applications operating through ‘smart’ software that can be specifically referred to as privacy applications and the implications the use of these applications has for user social relations on the internet and beyond. The thesis applies a case study methodology that incorporates a theoretical synergy based on the key components from the work and conceptions of Jean Francois Lyotard, Zygmunt Bauman and Anthony Giddens. This knowledge framework is then used to examine the data collected from surveys, interviews and focus groups. In the end, this thesis will show that the nature of both privacy and social relations differs from how both may be understood beyond the internet and this in turn throws up considerable problematic to moving forward.

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Unless otherwise indicated, the views expressed in this thesis are those of the author and do not necessarily represent the views of the University of Wollongong.