Scholarship on Privacy and Search Engines

I recently had the pleasure of attending an excellent workshop on “privacy advocacy” hosted by the Boalt Hall School of Law at Berkeley. The goal was to get privacy advocates in the room with academics who work on privacy in order to encourage “cross-pollination” and – from my perspective – help illuminate the kind of scholarship that would benefit advocacy most. (The workshop was “off the record” so I don’t want to blog about too many of the details without explicit permission from the various participants)

I helped lead a discussion on privacy and web search engines, where I outlined my own research agenda as well as sketched the current landscape of scholarship on privacy and search engines. I promised to post a brief bibliography, so here is what I came up with off the top of my head (mostly legal and philosophical perspectives). Please, tell me what I’m missing.

Albrechtslund, A. (2006). Surveillance in searching: A study into ethical aspects of an emergent search culture (PDF). Paper presented at the EASST 2006.

Chopra, S., & White, L. (2007). Privacy and Artificial Agents, or, Is Google Reading My Email? Paper presented at the IJCAI 2007.

Gasser, U. (2006). Regulating search engines: Taking stock and looking ahead. Yale Journal of Law & Technology, 9, 124-157.

Goldberg, M. (2005). The googling of online privacy: Gmail, search-engine histories, and the new frontier of protecting private information on the web. Lewis & Clark Law Review, 9, 249-272.

Grimmelmann, J. (forthcoming) The structure of search engine law. Iowa Law Review, 93.

Hargittai, E. (Ed.) (2007). The Social, Political, Economic, and Cultural Dimensions of Search Engines. Special issue of Journal of Computer Mediated Communication, 12(3).

Hinman, L. (2005). Esse est indicato in google: Ethical and political issues in search engines. International Review of Information Ethics, 3, 19-25.

Miller, J. (2005). “Don’t be evil”: Gmail’s relevant text advertisements violate google’s own motto and your e-mail privacy rights. Hofstra Law Review, 33(4), 1607-1641.

Norvig, P., Winograd, T., & Bowker, G. (2006, February 27). The Ethics and Politics of Search Engines. Panel at Santa Clara University Markkula Center for Applied Ethics.

Pasquale, F. & Bracha, O. (2007). Federal Search Commission? Access, Fairness and Accountability in the Law of Search.

Röhle, T. (2007). Desperately seeking the consumer: Personalized search engines and the commercial exploitation of user data. First Monday, 12 (9).

Rotenberg, B. (2007). Towards personalised search: EU data protection law and its implications for media pluralism (PDF). In M. Machill, & M. Beiler (Eds.), Die macht der suchmaschinen (The power of search engines). (pp. 87-104). Köln, Germany: Halem Verlag.

Tavani, H. T. (2005). Search engines, personal information and the problem of privacy in public. International Review of Information Ethics, 3, 39-45.

van Eijk, N. (2006). Search engines: Seek and ye shall find? The position of search engines in law. IRIS plus.

Zimmer, M. (2006, January). The value implications of the practice of paid search. Bulletin of the American Society for Information Science and Technology.

Zimmer, M. (2007). The Quest for the Perfect Search Engine: Values, Technical Design, and the Flow of Personal Information in Spheres of Mobility. Unpublished Dissertation, New York University.

Zimmer, M. (forthcoming). The gaze of Web search engines: How Google Acts as an infrastructure of dataveillance. In A. Spink, & M. Zimmer (Eds.), Web searching: Interdisciplinary perspectives. Dordrecht, The Netherlands: Springer.

:: UPDATE: I’ve added Gasser and Van Eijk. (thanks Daithí)
:: UPDATE: Added Albrechtslund, Rotenberg, and Röhle (thanks Anders & Joris)


  1. My twin sources for basic background information (probably too basic for your purposes given your status as a PhD author on the subject!) have been Gasser, U “Regulating Search Engines: Taking Stock and Looking Ahead” (2006) 9 Yale Journal of Law & Technology 124 and van Eijk, N “Search Engines: Seek and Ye Shall Find? The Position of Search Engines in Law” IRISPlus 2006-2 . Grimmelman obviously more detailed, though.

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