We explore the meaning of “privacy” among citizens of the Gulf states of Qatar and Saudi Arabia as it manifests in digital environments. Privacy is an essential and widely respected value in many cultures, and the way in which it is understood and enacted depends on context. Therefore, we conduct this research to understand user behaviors regarding privacy in the digital sphere, where individuals increasingly publish personal information. We present the results of two Arab Gulf based-studies, the first one is a mixed-methods analysis of 18K Twitter posts of Qatari nationals that mention “privacy.” The second study provides qualitative insights through 34 ethnographically-informed interviews that focus on online privacy with Saudi Arabian nationals. In our analysis, we pay attention to the face-to-face and digital contexts in which privacy is mentioned and enacted, and how those contexts lead to varied ideologies regarding privacy. Our findings reveal that in this context, the need and pursuit of privacy stems from the Islamic faith, in addition to the use of paternalistic language by men when discussing women’s privacy is common. Above all, privacy is framed as a communal attribute, including not only the individual, but the behavior of those around them; it even extends beyond one’s lifespan. We contribute an analysis and description of these previously unexplored interpretations of privacy, which play a role in how users navigate social media.
Norah Abokhodair, Daisy Yoo, and David W. McDonald. "Dissecting a social botnet: Growth, content and influence in Twitter." Proceedings of the 18th ACM Conference on Computer Supported Cooperative Work & Social Computing. ACM, 2015.
Nitin Agarwal, Merlyna Lim, and Rolf T. Wigand. 2012. Online collective action and the role of social media in mobilizing opinions: A case study on women’s right-to-drive campaigns in Saudi Arabia. Web 2.0 Technologies and Democratic Governance (pp. 99-123): Springer.
Al-Meezan. Ed. The Permanent Constitution of the State of Qatar. Qatar Legal Portal (Al-Meezan). Retrieved on Feb 2016 from http://www.almeezan.qa/LawArticles.aspx?LawArticleID=25790.
Mona Al-Munajjed. 1997. Women in Saudi Arabia today. New York: St. Martin's Press.
Zamel Al- Rakad. 2005. The right to privacy. Alriyadh. Retrieved from http://www.alriyadh.com/110341 (translated from the Arabic translation)
Tamara Al-Sheikh, Jennifer A. Rode, and Siân E. Lindley. 2011. (Whose) value-sensitive design: a study of long-distance relationships in an Arabic cultural context. In Proceedings of the ACM 2011 conference on Computer supported cooperative work (CSCW '11), 75-84.
Irwin Altman. 1975. The Environment and Social Behavior: Privacy, Personal Space, Territory, and Crowding.
Irwin Altman. 1976. Privacy: A Conceptual Analysis. Environment and behavior, 8(1), 7-29.
Ali S. Bahammam.1987. Architectural patterns of privacy in Saudi Arabian housing. Unpublished Electronic Thesis. McGill University, Monteal.
Luis Fernando Baron, Norah Abokhodair& Maria Garrido. 2013. Human and Political Grievances for Mobilization Different Roles of Facebook during the Egyptian Arab Spring. Proceedings of the 12th International Conference on Social Implications of Computers in Developing Countries.
David M. Blei, Andrew Y. Ng, and Michael I. Jordan. 2003. Latent dirichlet allocation. The Journal of Machine Learning research: 993-1022.
Peter C. Dodd. 1973. Family honor and the forces of change in Arab society. International Journal of Middle East Studies, 4(01), 40-54.
Doha News. 2013. Qatar Has 4th Highest Percentage of Facebook Users in the Arab World. Retrieved on June 2013 from http://dohanews.co/qatar-has-4th-highest-percentage-of-facebook-users-in.
Eman El-Shenawi. 2015. Qatar Revives Strict ‘Reflect Respect’ Dress Code Campaign. Al Arabiya News. Retrieved on Feb, 2016 from http://english.alarabiya.net/en/media/advertising-and-pr/2015/05/06/Qatar-revives-strict-Reflect-Respect-dress-code-campaign-.html.
Maha Faisal, and Asmaa Alsumait. 2011. Social network privacy and trust concerns. In the Proceedings of the 13th International Conference on Information Integration and Web-based Applications and Services.
Shelly D. Farnham, and Elizabeth F. Churchill. 2011. Faceted identity, faceted lives: social and technical issues with being yourself online. In the Proceedings of the ACM 2011 conference on computer supported cooperative work.
Batya Friedman, Kristina Hook, Brian Gill, Lina Eidmar, Catherine Sallmander Prien, and Rachel Severson. 2008. Personlig integritet: a comparative study of perceptions of privacy in public places in Sweden and the United States. In Proceedings of the 5th Nordic conference on Human-computer interaction: building bridges (NordiCHI '08) , 142-151.
David Garcia, Ingmar Weber, and Venkata Rama Kiran Garimella. "Gender asymmetries in reality and fiction: The bechdel test of social media." arXiv preprint arXiv:1404.0163 (2014).
Hala Guta, and Magdalena Karolak. 2015. Veiling and blogging: social media as sites of identity negotiation and expression among Saudi women. Journal of International Women's Studies 16.2: 115.
Muhammad Aslam Hayat. 2007. Privacy and Islam: From the Quran to data protection in Pakistan. Information & Communications Technology Law 16.2: 137-148.
Susan C. Herring. 2001. Computer-mediated Discourse. In: Deborah Schiffrin, Deborah Tannen, and Heidi E. Hamilton (Eds.) The Handbook of Discourse Analysis (612-634). Oxford: Blackwell Publishers.
Geert Hofstede, and Michael Minkov. 1991. Cultures and organizations : Software of the mind. Vol 2. London: McGraw-Hill.
Gavin Jancke, Gina Danielle Venolia, Jonathan Grudin, Jonathan J. Cadiz, and Anoop Gupta. 2001. Linking public spaces: technical and social issues. In Proceedings of the SIGCHI conference on Human factors in computing systems, pp. 530-537.
Sahar Khamis, and Katherine Vaughn. 2011. Cyberactivism in the Egyptian revolution: How civic engagement and citizen journalism tilted the balance. Arab Media and Society 14.3 (2011): 1-25.
Peter Kovessy. (2015). Qatar's population spikes again amid influx of blue-collar workers - Doha News. Retrieved May 12, 2016, from http://dohanews.co/qatars-population-spikes-again-amid-influx-of-blue-collar-workers/
Ponnurangam Kumaraguru, and Lorrie Cranor. 2005. Privacy in India: Attitudes and awareness. Privacy Enhancing Technologies. Springer Berlin Heidelberg.
May Lwin, Jochen Wirtz, and Jerome D. Williams. 2007. Consumer online privacy concerns and responses: a power–responsibility equilibrium perspective. Journal of the Academy of Marketing Science, 35(4), 572-585. doi: 10.1007/s11747-006-0003-3
Ali Sayed Mohamed. 2012. On the Road to Democracy: Egyptian bloggers and the Internet 2010. Journal of Arab & Muslim Media Research. 4(2), 253-272.
Azza Abdel-Azim Mohamed. "Online Privacy Concerns Among Social Networks’ Users." Cross-Cultural Communication 6.4 (2011): 74-89.
Arab News. “Saudi social media users ranked 7th in world.” 2016. Accessed on Apr 2016. http://www.arabnews.com/saudi-arabia/news/835236.
Arab News. (2015). KSA population is 30.8m; 33% expats. Retrieved May 12, 2016, from http://www.arabnews.com/saudi-arabia/news/697371
Helen Nissenbaum. 2009. Privacy in context: Technology, policy, and the integrity of social life. Stanford University Press.
Zulkeplee Othman, Rosemary Aird, and Laurie Buys. 2015. "Privacy, modesty, hospitality, and the design of Muslim homes: A literature review." Frontiers of Architectural Research. 4.1: 12-23.
Damian Radcliffe. 2015. Social Media in the Middle East: The Story of 2014. Retrieved August 2015 from https://damianradcliffe.files.wordpress.com/2015/01/damian-radcliffe-social-media-in-the-middle-east-the-story-of-2014.pdf
Asifa Siraj. 2011. Meanings of modesty and the hijab amongst Muslim women in Glasgow, Scotland. Gender, Place & Culture, 18(6), 716-731.
Jure Snoj. 2013. Qatar's Population - by Nationality. BQ Magazine. Retrieved Feb, 2016 from www.bq-magazine.com/economy/2013/12/population-qatar.
Rana Sobh, and Russell W. Belk. 2011. Privacy and gendered spaces in Arab Gulf homes. Home Cultures, 8(3), 317-340.
Sofiane Abbar, Yelena Mejova, and Ingmar Weber. 2015. You tweet what you eat: Studying food consumption through twitter. In Proceedings of the 33rd Annual ACM Conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems, CHI ’15, pages 3197–3206, New York, NY, USA.
Daniel J. Solove. 2008. Understanding privacy. Cambridge, Mass.: Harvard University Press
Jai-Yeol Son, and Sung S. Kim. 2008. Internet users' information privacy-protective responses: a taxonomy and a nomological model. Mis Quarterly.503-52
Sarah Vieweg, and Adam Hodges. 2016. Surveillance & Modesty on Social Media: How Qataris Navigate Modernity and Maintain Tradition. In Proceedings of the ACM Conference on Computer-Supported Cooperative Work and Social Computing (CSCW 2016).
Elaine J. Yuan, Miao Feng, and James A. Danowski. 2013. “Privacy” in semantic networks on Chinese social media: The case of Sina Weibo. Journal of Communication 63.6: 1011-1031.
Seidman, I. (2013). Interviewing as qualitative research : A guide for researchers in education and the social sciences (4th ed.). New York: Teachers College Press.
Norah Abokhodair, Sofiane Abbar, Sarah Vieweg, and Yelena Mejova. 2016. Privacy and twitter in qatar: traditional values in the digital world. In Proceedings of the 8th ACM Conference on Web Science (WebSci '16). ACM, New York, NY, USA, 66-77. DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1145/2908131.2908146
The copyright of the published articles stays with the authors.