Michael Zimmer

Associate Professor
Director, Center for Information Policy Research


Ph.D., Media, Culture and Communication New York University
M.A., Media Ecology New York University
B.B.A., Marketing University of Notre Dame


Michael Zimmer, PhD, is a privacy and Internet ethics scholar, most notable for his work in online privacy, the ethical dimensions of internet technologies, library privacy, and internet research ethics. He is an Associate Professor in the School of Information Studies at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee, where he also serves as Director of the Center for Information Policy Research.

Zimmer received his PhD in 2007 from the Department of Media, Culture, and Communication at New York University. He was a Student Fellow at the Information Law Institute at NYU Law from 2004-2007, and was the Microsoft Resident Fellow at the Information Society Project at Yale Law School for 2007-2008, and remains an Affiliated Fellow. Zimmer joined UW-Milwaukee’s School of Information Studies in 2008.

Zimmer has published in numerous international academic journals and books, and has delivered talks across North America, Europe, and Asia. He has written for Wired, The Washington Post, and The Huffington Post, has been a guest on National Public Radio‘s Morning Edition, Science Friday, and Here & Now news programs, and has appeared in The New York Times, The Chronicle of Higher Education, MSNBC.com, CNN.com, GQ Magazine, The Montreal Gazette, The Boston Globe, MIT Technology Review, The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, and in various other national and local media outlets.

Zimmer serves on numerous advisory boards, including the Washington, D.C.-based Future of Privacy Forum think tank and the NSF-sponsored Values-in-Design Council. He is on the editorial advisory boards of Internet Research, the Journal of Information, Communication and Ethics in Society, and the International Review of Information Ethics, and is co-editor of The Information Society book series for MIT Press. He has participated in numerous public interest activities, and provided expert advice and consultation for projects with the American Library Association’s Office For Intellectual Freedom, the New York Public Library, National Information Standards Organization (NISO), the Research Data Alliance, Google, Microsoft, among others. He served on the executive committee of the Association of Internet Researchers from 2009-2015.

Zimmer was also featured in the “Is My Cellphone Spying on Me?” commentary accompanying the 2-disc special edition DVD for the hit action/thriller movie Eagle Eye.

Courses Taught

110 Introduction to Information Science
120 Information Technology Ethics
490 Senior Capstone
674 The Search Engine Society
902 Doctoral Seminar on Theoretical Foundations on Information Studies
960 Doctoral Seminar in Information Policy

Sample Publications

Hoffmann, A., Proferes, N., and Zimmer, M. (in press) “Making the World More Open and Connected”: Mark Zuckerberg and the Discursive Construction of Facebook and Its Users. New Media & Society.

Zimmer, M. & Hoffmann, A. L. (2016). Preface: A decade of Web 2.0 - Reflections, critical perspectives, and beyond. First Monday, 21(6).

Zimmer, M. (2015). The Twitter Archive at the Library of Congress: Challenges for information practice and information policy. First Monday, 20(7).

Zimmer, M. (2015). Privacy law and regulation. In P. Ang & R. Mansell (Eds.), The International Encyclopedia of Digital Communication and Society. Wiley-Blackwell

Zimmer, M. & McCleer, A. (2014). The 2009 West Bend Community Memorial Library Controversy: Understanding the Challenge, the Reactions, and the Aftermath. Library Trends, 62(4), 721-729.

Zimmer, M. & Proferes, N. (2014). A topology of Twitter research: Disciplines, methods, and ethics. Aslib Journal of Information Management, 66(3), 250-261.

Zimmer, M. (2014). Librarian attitudes regarding information and Internet privacy. Library Quarterly, 84(2), 123-151.

Zimmer, M. (2013). Patron privacy in the “2.0” era: Avoiding the Faustian bargain of library 2.0. Journal of Information Ethics, 22(1), 44-59

Zimmer, M., & Proferes, N. (2013). Privacy on Twitter, Twitter on privacy. In A. Bruns, K. Weller, J. Burgess, M. Mahrt & C. Puschmann (Eds.), Twitter and Society (169-181). New York, NY: Peter Lang

Michael Zimmer's CV