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University of Southern California

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Information Technologies and International Development

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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.


Published version. Information Technologies and International Development, Vol. 13 (2017): 186-199. Publisher link. © 2017 USC Annenberg School for Communication & Journalism. Published under Creative Commons Attribution-Non Commercial-Share Alike 3.0 Unported license. All rights not granted there under to the public are reserved to the publisher and may not be exercised without its express written permission.

Creative Commons License

Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 License.

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