In chapter 2 of It’s Complicated, danah boyd discusses the propensity of youths to share information publicly, despite their insistence on maintaining their privacy. Youths post on public forums with the intention of communicating with their friends and peers, but don’t like it when their parents or teachers monitor them by creating their own accounts. Recounting an experience with a youth, boyd writes, “Although many adults believe that they have the right to consume any teen content that is functionally accessible, many teens disagree. [Chantelle] continued on to make it clear that she had nothing to hide while also reiterating the feeling that snooping teachers violated her sense of privacy.”
On one hand, Chantelle’s argument is completely reasonable. She’s arguing for the right to privacy, not because she wants to hide information but because she wants communications intended to be private to remain that way. In this case, the “snooping teacher” takes on a similar role to the federal government, where both surveil people who just want private matters to remain private.
On the other hand, all of the cases discussed in the chapter involve posting on public forums, with the operative word being “public”. With all the private mediums that youths could choose from, they chose to post publicly, which raises the question of whether people deserve privacy when posting publicly. I’m not sure what the options were in 2014 when boyd published It’s Complicated, but now there are plenty of apps and messaging services to choose from that don’t allow unwanted access. By choosing to post publicly, one essentially forfeits the expectation of privacy.