Skip to main content

Research Repository

Advanced Search

The practical politics of sharing personal data

Tolmie, Peter; Crabtree, Andy


Peter Tolmie

Professor of Computer Science


The focus of this paper is upon how people handle the sharing of personal data as an interactional concern. A number of ethnographic studies of domestic environments are drawn upon in order to articulate a range of circumstances under which data may be shared. In particular a distinction is made between the in situ sharing of data with others around you and the sharing of data with remote parties online. A distinction is also drawn between circumstances of purposefully sharing data in some way and circumstances where the sharing of data is incidental or even unwitting. On the basis of these studies a number of the organisational features of how people seek to manage the ways in which their data is shared are teased out. The paper then reflects upon how data sharing practices have evolved to handle the increasing presence of digital systems in people’s environments and how these relate to the ways in which people traditionally orient to the sharing of information. In conclusion a number of ways are pointed out in which the sharing of data remains problematic and there is a discussion of how systems may need to adapt to better support people’s data sharing practices in the future.


Tolmie, P., & Crabtree, A. (in press). The practical politics of sharing personal data. Personal and Ubiquitous Computing,

Journal Article Type Article
Acceptance Date Jun 12, 2017
Online Publication Date Aug 22, 2017
Deposit Date Aug 22, 2017
Publicly Available Date Aug 22, 2017
Journal Personal and Ubiquitous Computing
Print ISSN 1617-4909
Electronic ISSN 1617-4917
Publisher Springer Verlag
Peer Reviewed Peer Reviewed
Keywords Personal data; Privacy; Information sharing; Domestic data management practices; Ethnomethodology
Public URL
Publisher URL
Copyright Statement Copyright information regarding this work can be found at the following address:
Additional Information The final publication is available at Springer via


PUC.pdf (459 Kb)

Copyright Statement
Copyright information regarding this work can be found at the following address:

You might also like

Downloadable Citations