Localization of Transnational Tech Platforms and Liminal Privacy Practices in Cambodia
Privacy scholarship has shown how norms of appropriate information flow and information regulatory processes vary according to environment which change as the environment changes, including through the introduction of new technologies. This talk gives the findings from a qualitative research study that examines practices and perceptions of privacy in Cambodia as the population rapidly moves into an online environment (specifically Facebook, the most popular digital platform in Cambodia). We empirically demonstrate how the concept of privacy differs across cultures and show how the Facebook platform, as it becomes popular worldwide, catalyzes change in this fluid concept of privacy through the functions that it builds into the design of its tool. We discuss how the localization of transnational technology platforms provides a key site in which to investigate changing cultural ideas about privacy. We use this case to explore tensions between the ways that digital tools change culture, while also being localized themselves through their integration into specific milieu. Finally, we explore ways that insufficient localization effort by transnational technology companies puts some of the most marginalized users at disproportionate privacy risk when using new technology tools, and offer some pragmatic suggestions for how such companies could improve privacy settings for their global user base.