Grinding privacy in the Internet of Bodies: An empirical qualitative research on dating mobile applications for men who have sex with men

Guido Noto La Diega

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapterpeer-review

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Abstract

The 'Internet of Bodies' (IoB) is the latest development of the Internet of Things. It encompasses a variety of phenomena, from implanted smart devices to the informal regulation of body norms in online communities. This article presents the results of empirical qualitative research on dating mobile applications for men who have sex with men ('MSM apps'). The pair IoB-privacy is analysed through two interwoven perspectives: the intermediary liability of the MSM app providers and the responsibility for discriminatory practices against the users' physical appearance (aesthetic discrimination). On the one hand, privacy constitutes the justification of the immunities from intermediary liability (so-called safe harbours). Indeed, it is believed that if online intermediaries were requested to play an active role (eg by policing their platforms to prevent their users from carrying out illegal activities) this would infringe the users' privacy. This article calls into question this justification. On the other hand, in an age of ubiquitous surveillance, one may think that the body is the only place where the right to be left alone can be effective. This article contests this view by showing that the users' bodies are no longer the sanctuary of privacy. Bodies are observed, measured, and sometimes change as a result of the online experience. This research adopted an empirical qualitative multi-layered methodology which included a focus group, structured interviews, an online survey and the text analysis of the Terms of Service, privacy policies and guidelines of a number of MSM apps.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationData Protection and Privacy: The Internet of Bodies
EditorsRonald Leenes, Rosamunde van Brakel, Serge Gutwirth, Paul De Hert
PublisherHart
Chapter2
Pages21-69
Number of pages49
Volume2018
Edition1st
ISBN (Print)9781509926206
Publication statusPublished - 13 Dec 2018

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