Privacy and Knowledge Commons

Madelyn Rose Sanfilippo, Brett M. Frischmann, Katherine J. Strandburg

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter


Conceptualizing privacy as information flow rules-in-use constructed within a commons governance arrangement, we adapt the Governing Knowledge Commons (GKC) framework to study the formal and informal governance of information flows. We incorporate Helen Nissenbaum's “privacy as contextual integrity” approach, defining privacy in terms of contextually appropriate flows of personal information. While Nissenbaum's framework treats contextual norms as largely exogenous and emphasizes their normative valence, the GKC framework provides a systematic method to excavate personal information rules-in-use that actually apply in specific situations and interrogate governance mechanisms that shape rules-in-use. After discussing how the GKC framework can enrich privacy research, we explore empirical evidence for contextual integrity as governance within the GKC framework through meta-analysis of previous knowledge commons case studies, revealing three governance patterns within the observed rules-in-use for personal information flow. Our theoretical analysis provides strong justification for a new research agenda using the GKC framework to explore privacy as governance.
Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationGoverning Privacy in Knowledge Commons
EditorsMadelyn Rose Sanfilippo, Brett M. Frischmann, Katherine J. Strandburg
PublisherCambridge University Press
Number of pages46
ISBN (Electronic)9781108749978
ISBN (Print)9781108485142
StatePublished - Mar 2021

Publication series

NameCambridge Studies on Governing Knowledge Commons


  • commons
  • governance
  • institutions
  • knowledge
  • participation
  • privacy

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Computer Science
  • General Social Sciences


Dive into the research topics of 'Privacy and Knowledge Commons'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this