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, whose work focuses on digital privacy, the ethical dimensions of social media & internet technologies, libraries & 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 has published in numerous international academic journals and books, and has delivered talks across North America, Europe, and Asia. He has written for WiredThe Washington Post, and The Huffington Post, and has been a guest on National Public Radio‘s Morning Edition, Science Friday, and Here & Now news programs. Zimmer has appeared in news articles for The New York TimesThe Wall Street Journal, the Associated Press, The AtlanticThe Chronicle of Higher Education, MSNBC.com, CNN.com, GQ Magazine, and various other national and local media outlets. His research has been supported by the National Science Foundation, the Institute of Museum and Library Services, and the American Library Association.

Zimmer is editor of the Journal of Intellectual Freedom & Privacy, published by the American Library Association’s Office of Intellectual Freedom. He also serves on the editorial advisory boards of Internet Research, the Journal of Information, Communication and Ethics in Society, and the International Review of Information Ethics. As co-editor of The Information Society book series for MIT Press, Zimmer has overseen the publication of numerous academic titles by leading scholars.

He has participated in numerous public interest activities and provided expert advice and consultation for Google, Microsoft, Facebook, the American Library Association’s Office For Intellectual Freedom, the New York Public Library, the National Information Standards Organization (NISO), and other organizations. 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, and served on the executive committee of the Association of Internet Researchers from 2009-2015.

In 2013, Zimmer launched “The Zuckerberg Files”, a digital archive of all public utterances of Facebook’s founder and CEO, Mark Zuckerberg. The project has received widespread media attention and has been utilized by numerous researchers. Zimmer was also featured in the “Is My Cellphone Spying on Me?” commentary accompanying the 2-disc special edition DVD for the 2008 hit action/thriller movie Eagle Eye.

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.

Courses Taught

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

Sample Publications

Zimmer, M. & Kinder-Kurlanda, K. (Eds.). (2017). Internet Research Ethics for the Social Age: New Challenges, Cases, and Contexts. New York: Peter Lang

Kritikos, K. C., & Zimmer, M. (2017).  Privacy policies and practices with cloud-based services in public libraries: An exploratory case of BiblioCommons.  Journal of Intellectual Freedom and Privacy, 2(1).

Zimmer, M. & Tijerina, B. (2017). Foundations of privacy in libraries. In B. Newman & B. Tijerina (Eds.), Protecting Patron Privacy in the 21st Century Library. Rowman & Littlefield.

Zimmer, M.  & Caldwell-Stone, D. (2017). Privacy law and regulation. In B. Newman & B. Tijerina (Eds.), Protecting Patron Privacy in the 21st Century Library. Rowman & Littlefield.

Hoffmann, A., Proferes, N., and Zimmer, M. (2016) “Making the World More Open and Connected”: Mark Zuckerberg and the Discursive Construction of Facebook and Its Users. New Media & Society.

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

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.

Research Grants

"Pervasive Data Ethics for Computational Research" National Science Foundation, 2017-2021.

"Library Values & Privacy in our National Digital Strategies: Field guides, Convenings, and Conversations" Institute of Museum and Library Services, 2017-2018.

“Assessing the Implementation of CIPA-Mandated Internet Filtering in U.S. Public Libraries.” UW-Milwaukee Research Growth Initiative, 2017-2018.

“Mapping Privacy and Surveillance Dynamics in Emerging Mobile Ecosystems: Practices and Contexts in the Netherlands and US.” National Science Foundation EAGER (EArly-concept Grants for Exploratory Research) grant, 2016-2018.

“Librarian Attitudes and Behaviors Regarding Informational Privacy.” American Library Association Office of Intellectual Freedom, 2011-2012.

Michael Zimmer's CV