Just Say No to “Just Say No”: Tensions in Organizational Approaches to Youth and Online Privacy in the Americas

This thesis examines organizational practices in the field of youth online privacy in the Americas. I describe harms created by protective, universalist, individualistic approaches that pose youth as conditional citizens, and make a case for approaches based instead on youth agency, intersectional views of privacy, collective responsibility, and the recognition of youth as subjects of rights today. I demonstrate organizational practices that align with this vision, such as codesign and institutional youth involvement; particular consideration of the needs and rights of marginalized youth; actions that emphasize the role of sociotechnical structures in the defense of youth’s right to privacy; the creation of opportunities for intergenerational learning; the use of advocacy frames such as harm reduction and equality; and the reliance on local and creative narratives that resonate with youth. My methods consisted of eighteen semi-structured interviews and an organizational literature review of eighteen organizations that work at the intersections of youth development, personal data protection, digital rights, and countersurveillance.


Mariel García-Montes

About Mariel García-Montes

Mariel García-Montes, @faeriedevilish, joins the CMS program and the Center of Civic Media to ponder the questions she asked herself (without the chances to formally explore) throughout her work in tech capacity building in civil society in Mexico and Latin America – especially those around youth, media, civic/moral education and digital literacies. She has worked doing communications, instructional design and research around open data, privacy and security, strategic communications and other digital literacies for SocialTIC (Mexico), Unicef (HQ); as a consultant for School of Data, the Open Knowledge Foundation, the engine room and Internews; and as an intern for the Youth and Media Lab at the Berkman Klein Center for Internet and Society at Harvard University. She is a philosophy graduate from the National Autonomous University of Mexico, and a Berkman Klein Center affiliate. Mariel loves passionate opinions in the intersections of technology and society, creative communications efforts, random acts of kindness, passport stamps...and both eating and dancing salsa.


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