noun : au·ton·o·my pri·va·cy \ ȯ-ˈtä-nə-mē \ ˈprī-və-sē

  1. An individual’s ability to conduct activities without concern of or actual observation.

Autonomy Privacy Principles at the University of California

Members of the University community are expected to uphold autonomy privacy, which is the ability of an individual to exercise a substantial degree of control over one’s expressions, associations, and general conduct without unreasonable oversight, interference, or negative consequences. In the University setting, autonomy privacy is closely associated with the concepts of academic freedom, free speech, and community. The following proposed autonomy principles are intended to capture our culture of openness, transparency, ethical behavior, and respect for others:

Free inquiry

The University is guided by First Amendment principles and is committed to encouraging its members to exercise free discourse without fear of reprisal or intimidation, subject to the privacy and safety of other individuals or University resources.

Respect for individual privacy

The University is committed to respecting the privacy of individuals, including their interactions with others, and expects University members to esteem each other’s privacy and well-being.


The University is guided by Fourth Amendment principles regarding surveillance of persons or places, whether in person on campus or electronically, and is committed to balancing the need for the safety of individuals and property with the individuals’ reasonable expectation of privacy in a particular location.

Autonomy Privacy at UC Santa Barbara

The Electronic Communication Policy (ECP) governs your online autonomy privacy as it relates to your use of UCSB’s electronic communications resources; the ECP states, in pertinent part:

The University recognizes that principals of academic freedom and shared governance, freedom of speech, and privacy hold important implications for the use of electronic communications … The University respects the privacy of electronic communications in that same way that it respects the privacy of paper correspondence and telephone conversations, while seeking to ensure that University administrative records are accessible for the conduct of University business.

The University does not examine or disclose electronic communications records without the holder’s consent except under specific, limited circumstances outlined in “Section IV. Privacy and Confidentiality” of the ECP.

For more information on Privacy and the ECP, please see the Access to Electronic Communications section of this website.

Autonomy Privacy Everywhere

It is important for individuals to consider how they make their personal information available online, particularly where an individual must accept terms and conditions that are frequently lengthy and difficult to read and understand. Do you know what you are agreeing to when you click, “accept?”

Below are informational articles and videos that provide some privacy basics to help you navigate the choice to “accept” or otherwise, manage your online presence, and guard your privacy online. See also, UCSB’s Protecting Online Privacy webpage for more information.