Private and Public in the Digital Space: Blurring of the Lines
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private life
private space
personal identity
mass communication

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Trufanova, E. (2021). Private and Public in the Digital Space: Blurring of the Lines. Galactica Media: Journal of Media Studies, 3(1), 14-38.


The article analyses the changes of human private life that happen due to the influence of the contemporary digital communication technologies. The research object is a present digital communications system in its interaction with the “offline-world”, with the focus on the relationship between private and public spheres of human life within this system. It is shown that the detachment of the private sphere and the accentuation of privacy arise gradually throughout the human history. The need to lawfully protect privacy was understood only by the end of the 19th century. It is demonstrated that due to the information technologies progress the existing measures of privacy protection become no longer adequate. Current development of the digital technologies provides the strong connections between the offline- and online-life of a person, and person’s Internet manifestations play equally important role as one’s actions in the material world. Personal identity extends due to the digital or network identification. In this situation the problem of privacy is seen in the new light; it is not only about protection from unauthorized access to the private data, but also about the evaluation of the person’s profiles and webpages as private. While a person considers one’s pages in social networks as private space, other users consider it to be public space; this difference in evaluation becomes the source of conflicts. Estimating wrongly the limits of the private space in the Net, many people make statements or actions that become noticeable online-events due to the confusion of public and private spheres; this can influence offline-life. It is shown that in the current Internet any utterance can become the centre of many people’s attention and the author of the utterance can be made responsible for one’s words before the whole wide world. The disability of dealing with such total responsibility can result in denying any responsibility at all. This can be the cause not only for personal, but for the global social crises.
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