Controlling Knowledge
264 pages, 5 1/2 x 8 1/2
Release Date:01 Sep 2011

Controlling Knowledge

Freedom of Information and Privacy Protection in a Networked World

Athabasca University Press

In Controlling Knowledge, Lorna Stefanick offers aprovocative inquiry into the regulatory regime that governs freedom ofinformation and the protection of privacy (FOIP). The application ofFOIP laws requires a balancing act between two potentially competinggoals — the desire to provide citizens with access to theinformation they need in order to hold others accountable and thedesire to safeguard an individual’s right to privacy and protectsensitive information from abuse. To illustrate the impact of FOIP,Stefanick examines the secondary uses of medical data, looks at theforms of surveillance that the digital age has enabled, and exploresthe power and perils of Facebook and the Internet.

Intended to serve as a “citizen’s guide,” andwritten in refreshingly down-to-earth language, ControllingKnowledge is a vital resource for anyone seeking to understand theconcepts and issues that drive FOIP legislation and how these laws areshaping our individual rights as citizens of the information age.

Lorna Stefanick is an associate professor at AthabascaUniversity, where she teaches in the Governance, Law, and Managementprogram. Prior to joining AU, she was the associate director of theGovernment Studies unit at the University of Alberta. Having taught ina virtual environment for over a decade, Stefanick has first-handexposure to some of the radical ways in which new communicationtechnologies have transformed our working lives and socialrelationships.

Preface and Acknowledgements ...  ix

1. An Introduction to Freedom of Information and PrivacyProtection ...  1

Accessing and Protecting Electronic Data  ...  1

Accountability and Autonomy  ...  5

Unpacking the Concepts  ...  8

Transparency, Privacy, and Good Governance  ...  13

Overview of the Book  ...  23

2. Privacy Protection ...  29

The Many Dimensions of Privacy  ...  29

The March Toward Regulation  ...  37

Data Flow, the Thirst for Information, and the Problems of

Privacy Protection  ...  46

Privacy Protection, Personal Autonomy, and Control  ... 59

3. Freedom of Information (FOI) ...  63

Transparency for the Public Good  ...  63

The March Toward Regulation  ...  71

Administrative Practice: Challenges to the Culture of Openness ...  79

Information Access, Equity, and Fairness  ...  93

4.Sharing Medical Information: Antidote or Bitter Pill? ... 97

The Special Case of Health Information  ...  97

Electronic Health Records  ...  99

Privacy and Confidentiality  ...  103

Secondary Uses of Medical Information  ...  111

Managing Health Information  ...  122

5. Surveillance in the Digital Age ... 125

Surveillance as a Form of Social Control  ...  125

Modern Forms of Watching  ...  128

Whither Watching?  ...  155

6. Social Networking: The Case of Facebook ... 157

The Creation of Online Personalities  ...  157

The Power and Perils of Virtual Communities  ...  162

Digital Identities, the Commodification of Personality, and theBacklash  ...  172

The Future of Facebook  ...  182

7. Balancing Freedom of Information and the Protection ofPrivacy ...  187

Questions for Discussion  ...  197

Notes  ...  205

Selected Bibliography  ...  231

Index  ...  243

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