Communication Privacy Management and Mobile Phone Use

Communication Privacy Management and Mobile Phone Use

Debra L. Worthington (Auburn University, USA) and Margaret Fitch-Hauser (Auburn University, USA)
Copyright: © 2019 |Pages: 15
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-5225-8176-5.ch090
OnDemand PDF Download:
No Current Special Offers


The introduction of new technologies effects rapid social change and challenges social norms. A major challenge with the advent of mobile phones is how the technology tests traditional notions of personal privacy and interaction involvement, particularly in public settings. Communication privacy management (CPM) theory provides a means of explaining the tensions between mobile phone users and proximate others. In this article, components of communication privacy management theory are outlined and its application to mobile communication is discussed. Next, privacy issues associated with specific mobile technology are reviewed and cultural differences in mobile communication privacy needs are examined. In light of the limited research in this area, suggestions for future research are also presented.
Chapter Preview

Introduction And Definition Of Key Concepts

The International Telecommunication Union estimates that the number of in-use mobile phones exceeds the number of earth’s population (Pramis, 2013). The social interactions resulting from the use of the six billion active cell phones have altered both public space and behavior (Katz, 2007; Ling, 2008), and a significant body of research suggests that mobile technology impacts our social networks and interactions (Banjo, Hu, & Sundar, 2008; Campbell, 2007, 2008; Geser, 2006, Inbar, Joost, Hemmert, Porat, & Tractinsky, 2014; Poutiainen, 2007).

Mobile phone use challenges traditional notions of personal privacy and interaction involvement. Communication privacy management addresses how individuals control and reveal private information (Petronio, 2007). At the heart of their social interactions is how mobile phone users balance obligations to absent others (i.e., the caller) against their responsibilities to proximate or co-present others (i.e., people around them), while at the same time managing privacy concerns of all parties (Banjo et al., 2008).

The theory of communication privacy management was first introduced by Sandra Petronio (1991). A Professor of Communication Studies at Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis, she has authored and co-authored numerous books and articles on CPM. More recent publications provide summaries of the theory (Petronio, 2008; Serewicz & Petronio, 2007), outline the development of CPM (2004), expand on the role of confidants (Petronio & Reierson, 2009) and secrecy (Petronio, 2000), and apply CPM to a variety of contexts (see, for example, Duggan & Petronio, 2009; Greene, Derlega, Yep, & Petronio, 2003).

Rich Ling, Ph.D., of IT University of Copenhagen, is a leading researcher in the area of the social consequences of mobile communication. He has authored and co-authored multiple books and articles in this area, including New Tech, New Ties: How Mobile Communication is Reshaping Social Cohesion (2010), Mobile Phones and Mobile Communication (Polity) (with Jonathan Donner) (2009), and Taken for Grantedness: The Embedding of Mobile Communication into Society (2012). A frequent co-author with Ling, Dr. Scott W. Campbell of the University of Michigan, has also made significant contributions to our understanding of normative mobile phone behaviors (e.g., Mobile Communication: Bringing us Together and Tearing us Apart, 2011; The Reconstruction of Space and Time: Mobile Communication Practices, 2009). His research in mobile telephony emphasizes the social implications of the medium. To date, only one study has applied the principles of CPM to mobile telephony (see Worthington, Fitch-Hauser, Valikoski, Imhof, & Kim, 2011).

Complete Chapter List

Search this Book: