Auto-biography: On the Immanent Commodification of Personal Information


  • Kenneth C Werbin



In the last years, a series of automated self-representational social media sites have emerged that shed light on the information ethics associated with participation in Web 2.0. Sites like,, and not only continually mine and aggregate personal information and biographic data from the (deep) web and beyond to automatically represent the lives of people, but they also engage algorithmic networking logics to represent connections between them; capturing not only who people are, but whom they are connected to. Indeed, these processes of ‘auto-biography’ are ‘secret’ ones that for the most part escape the user’s attention. This article explores how these sites of auto-biography reveal the complexities of the political economy of Web 2.0, as well as implicate an ethics of exposure concerning how these processes at once participate in the erosion of privacy, and at the same time, in the reinforcement of commodification and surveillance regimes.




How to Cite

Werbin, Kenneth C. 2012. “Auto-Biography: On the Immanent Commodification of Personal Information”. The International Review of Information Ethics 17 (July). Edmonton, Canada:46-53.