Decolonizing 'privacy': Negotiating (in)visibility and surveillance in the global South

Gabriel Rosa da Mata Ribeiro, Jo Pierson

Research output: Unpublished contribution to conferenceUnpublished paper


By reviewing surveillance capitalism as demarcated by S. Zuboff, this study accounts for the tale of how giving up one’s privacy in exchange for services and products was normalized. Instead of framing the intricate process of aspiring for social visibility and demanding privacy protection in the global South with Western theoretical lenses, this analysis turns to the decolonial perspective to raise other subtleties to the debate. To that end, this research adopts the Constructivist Grounded Theory (CGT) as the methodological approach. Based on semi-structured qualitative interviews (N=15) with Brazilian civil rights activists, the findings suggest that the best way to understand this negotiation is by establishing a set of codes and rules that deal with privacy management instead of developing a definition of privacy per se. Results also show that other factors have to be considered when conducting privacy studies, such as the kind of data individuals care about sharing. Finally, some strategies and recommendations made by the respondents (e.g., the creation of personas, obfuscation tactics, the use of Big Data by community leaders) indicate possible new solutions.
Original languageEnglish
Number of pages6
Publication statusPublished - 27 Nov 2020
Event13th CMI Conference: Digital transformations - potentials and challenges - Copenhagen, Denmark
Duration: 26 Nov 202027 Nov 2020


Conference13th CMI Conference
Internet address


  • Decolonialism
  • Global South
  • Privacy
  • Social visibility
  • Surveillance Capitalism

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