The Kaleidoscope of Privacy: Differences across French, German, UK, and US GDPR Media Discourse

03/31/2021
by   Mary Sanford, et al.
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Conceptions of privacy differ by culture. In the Internet age, digital tools continuously challenge the way users, technologists, and governments define, value, and protect privacy. National and supranational entities attempt to regulate privacy and protect data managed online. The European Union passed the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), which took effect on 25 May 2018. The research presented here draws on two years of media reporting on GDPR from French, German, UK, and US sources. We use the unsupervised machine learning method of topic modelling to compare the thematic structure of the news articles across time and geographic regions. Our work emphasises the relevance of regional differences regarding valuations of privacy and potential obstacles to the implementation of unilateral data protection regulation such as GDPR. We find that the topics and trends over time in GDPR media coverage of the four countries reflect the differences found across their traditional privacy cultures.

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