Group Privacy pp 101-122 | Cite as

Social Machines as an Approach to Group Privacy

  • Kieron O’HaraEmail author
  • Dave Robertson
Part of the Philosophical Studies Series book series (PSSP, volume 126)


This chapter introduces the notion of social machines as a way of conceptualising and formalising the interactions between people and private networked technology for problem-solving. It is argued that formalisation of such ‘social computing’ will generate requirements for information flow within social machines and across their boundaries with the outside world. These requirements provide the basis for a notion of group privacy that is neither derivative from the idea of individual privacy preferences, nor founded in political or moral argument, but instead related to the integrity of the social machine and its capabilities for bottom-up problem-solving. This notion of group privacy depends on a particular technological setup, and is not intended to be a general definition, but it has purchase in the context of pervasive technology and big data which has made the question of group privacy pressing and timely.


Social machines Social computing Group privacy Identity Collective action Social networking 



This research was supported by the EPSRC project SOCIAM: The Theory and Practice of Social Machines, ref EP/J017728/1.


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Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing AG 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Southampton UniversitySouthamptonUK

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