After Snowden – the evolving landscape of privacy and technology

Robin Wilton (Technical Outreach Director for Identity and Privacy, Internet Society, Reston, Virginia, USA)

Journal of Information, Communication and Ethics in Society

ISSN: 1477-996X

Publication date: 14 August 2017



This paper aims to provide a non-academic perspective on the research reports of the JICES “Post-Snowden” special edition, from the viewpoint of a privacy advocate with an IT background.


This paper was written after reviewing the country reports for Japan, New Zealand, PRC and Taiwan, Spain and Sweden, as well as the Introduction paper. The author has also drawn on online sources such as news articles to substantiate his analysis of attitudes to technical privacy protection post-Snowden.


Post-Snowden, the general perception of threats to online privacy has shifted from a predominant focus on commercial threats to a recognition that government activities, in the sphere of intelligence and national security, also give rise to significant privacy risk. Snowden’s disclosures have challenged many of our assumptions about effective oversight of interception capabilities. Citizens’ expectations in this regard depend partly on national experience of the relationship between citizen and government, and can evolve rapidly. The tension between legitimate law enforcement access and personal privacy remains challenging to resolve.


As a “viewpoint” paper, this submission draws heavily on the author’s experience as a privacy and technology subject-matter expert. Although it therefore contains a higher proportion of opinion than the academic papers in this issue, his hope is that it will stimulate debate and further research.



Robin Wilton (2017) "After Snowden – the evolving landscape of privacy and technology", Journal of Information, Communication and Ethics in Society, Vol. 15 No. 3, pp. 328-335

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Emerald Publishing Limited

Copyright © Robin Wilton, Internet Society, 2017.

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