ICTD 2016| Privacy in Repair: An Analysis of the Privacy Challenges Surrounding Broken Digital Artifacts in Bangladesh

Syed Ishtiaque Ahmed, Shion Guha, Md. Rashidujjaman Rifat, Faysal Hossain Shezan, Nicola Dell


This paper presents a study on the privacy concerns associated with the practice of repairing broken digital objects in Bangladesh. Historically, repair of old or broken technologies has received less attention in ICTD scholarship than design, development, or use. As a result, the potential privacy risks associated with repair practices have remained mostly unaddressed. This paper describes our three-month long ethnographic study that took place at ten major repair sites in Dhaka, Bangladesh. We show a variety of ways in which the privacy of an individual’s personal data may be compromised during the repair process. We also examine people’s perceptions around privacy in repair, and its connections with their broader social and cultural values. Finally, we discuss the challenges and opportunities for future research to strengthen the repair ecosystem in developing countries. Taken together, our findings contribute to the growing discourse around post-use cycles of technology.

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