Delaware Public Media

Hagley author talk: Worried about privacy? So were your ancestors

Nov 5, 2018

Privacy worries may feel like a new phenomenon in the digital age. But our ancestors were also worried about it.

And Vanderbilt University associate history professor Sarah Igo is coming to the First State to offer that historical context.



Sarah Igo is the author of a new book titled “The Known Citizen: A History of Privacy in Modern America” and will be at Hagley Museum and Library in Wilmington to give a free talk on the topic Thursday.

She says the issue is more important now than ever.


“With the long view, I think I feel comfortable saying, privacy has never maybe been more on the minds of American these days….given cyber interference, Cambridge Analytica and Facebook, Equifax, all kinds of breaches being reported it seems by the week or the day,” Igo said.


She says privacy maybe more on Americans’ minds these days - given cyber interference in elections and the drumbeat of data breaches of all kinds being reported.

But she argues those issues have their roots in the past.

“I think one thing that the long view reveals is that we haven’t always paid enough attention really to privacy; we haven’t paid enough attention to what we are giving away in the name of security or convenience,” said Igo.


Igo’s presentation at Hagley’s Soda House starts at 7 p.m .Thursday and is free and open to the public.

More information is available here.