Technology, Thoughts & Trinkets

Touring the digital through type

Category: Social Networking (page 3 of 8)

Vancouver’s Human Flesh Search Engine

Photo by Richard Eriksson

I don’t like violence, vandalism, or other actions that generally cause destruction. Certainly there are cases where violent social dissent is a sad but important final step to fulfil a much needed social change (e.g. overthrowing a ruinous dictator, tipping the scale to defend or secure essential civil rights) but riotous behaviour following a hockey game lacks any legitimating force. Unfortunately, in the aftermath of game seven between the Vancouver Canucks and Boston Bruins a riot erupted in downtown Vancouver that caused significant harm to individuals and damage to the urban environment.

The riot itself is a sad event. What is similarly depressing is the subsequent mob mentally that has been cheered on by the social media community. Shortly after the riot, prominent local bloggers including Rebecca Bollwitt linked to social media websites and encouraged readers/visitors to upload their recordings and identify those caught on camera. In effect, Canadians were, and still are, being encouraged by their peers and social media ‘experts’ to use social media to locally instantiate a human flesh search engine (I will note that Bollwitt herself has since struck through her earliest endorsement of mob-championing). Its manifestation is seemingly being perceived by many (most?) social media users as a victory of the citizenry and inhabitants of Vancouver over individuals alleged to have committed crimes.

Perhaps unsurprisingly, I have significant issues with this particular search engine. In this post, I’m going to first provide a brief recap of the recent events in Vancouver and then I’ll quickly explain the human flesh search engine (HFSE), both how it works and the harms it can cause. I’m going to conclude by doing two things: first, I’m going to suggest that Vancouver is presently driving a local HFSE and note the prospective harms that may befall those unfortunate enough to get caught within its maw. Second, I’m going to suggest why citizens are ill-suited to carry out investigations that depend on social media-based images and reports.

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Recording of ‘Traffic Analysis, Privacy, and Social Media’

The abstract for my presentation, as well as references, have already been made available. I wasn’t aware (or had forgotten) that all the presentations from Social Media Camp Victoria were going to be recorded and put on the web, but thought that others visiting this space might be interested in my talk. The camera is zoomed in on me, which means you miss some of the context provided by slides and references to people in the audience as I was talking. (Having quickly looked/listened to some of what I say, I feel as though I’m adopting a presentation style similar to a few people I watch a lot. Not sure how I think about that…The inability to actually walk around – being tethered to the mic and laptop – was particularly uncomfortable, which comes across in my body language, I think.)

Immediately after my presentation, Kris Constable of PrivaSecTech gives a privacy talk on social media that focuses on the inability to control personal information dissemination. Following his presentation, the two of us take questions from the audience for twenty or thirty minutes.

References for ‘Putting the Meaningful into Meaningful Consent’

By Stephanie BoothDuring my presentation last week at Social Media Club Vancouver – abstract available! – I drew from a large set of sources, the majority of which differed from my earlier talk at Social Media Camp Victoria. As noted earlier, it’s almost impossible to give full citations in the middle of a talk, but I want to make them available post-talk for interested parties.

Below is my keynote presentation and list of references. Unfortunately academic paywalls prevent me from linking to all of the items used, to say nothing of chapters in various books. Still, most of the articles should be accessible through Canadian university libraries, and most of the books are in print (if sometimes expensive).

I want to thank Lorraine Murphy and Cathy Browne for inviting me and doing a stellar job of publicizing my talk to the broader media. It was a delight speaking to the group at SMC Vancouver, as well as to reporters and their audiences across British Columbia and Alberta.

Keynote presentation [20.4MB; made in Keynote ’09]

References

Bennett, C. (1992). Regulating Privacy: Data Protection and Public Policy in Europe and the United States. Ithica: Cornell University Press.

Bennett, C. (2008).  The Privacy Advocates:  Resisting the Spread of Surveillance.  Cambridge, Mass:  The MIT Press.

Carey, R. and Burkell, J. (2009). ‘A Heuristics Approach to Understanding Privacy-Protecting Behaviors in Digital Social Environments’, in I. Kerr, V. Steeves, and C. Lucock (eds.). Lessons From the Identity Trail: Anonymity, Privacy and Identity in a Networked Society. Toronto: Oxford University Press. 65-82.

Chew, M., Balfanz, D., Laurie, B. (2008). ‘(Under)mining Privacy in Social Networks’, Proceedings of W2SP Web 20 Security and Privacy: 1-5.

Fischer-Hübner, S., Sören Pettersson, J. and M. Bergmann, M. (2008). “HCI Designs for Privacy-Enhancing Identity Management’, in A. Acquisti and S. Gritzalis (eds.). Digital Privacy: Theory, Technologies, and Practices. New York: Auerbach Publications. 229-252.

Flaherty, D. (1972). Privacy in Colonial England. Charlottesville, VA: University Press of Virginia.

Hoofnagle, Chris; King, Jennifer; Li, Su; and Turow, Joseph. (2010). “How different are young adults from older adults when it comes to information privacy attitudes and policies?” available at: http://www.ftc.gov/os/comments/privacyroundtable/544506-00125.pdf

Karyda, M., Koklakis, S. (2008). ’Privacy Perceptions among Members of Online Communities‘, in A. Acquisti and S. Gritzalis (eds.). Digital Privacy: Theory, Technologies, and Practices. New York: Auerbach Publications, 253-266.

Kerr, I., Barrigar, J., Burkell, J, and Black K. (2009). ‘Soft Surveillance, Hard Consent: The Law and Psychology of Engineering Consent’, in I. Kerr, V. Steeves, and C. Lucock (eds.). Lessons From the Identity Trail: Anonymity, Privacy and Identity in a Networked Society. Toronto: Oxford University Press. 5-22.

Marwick, A. E., Murgia-Diaz, D., and Palfrey Jr., J. G. (2010). ‘Youth, Privacy and Reputation (Literature Review)’. Berkman Center Research Publication No. 2010-5; Harvard Law Working Paper No. 10-29. URL: http://papers.ssrn.com/sol3/papers.cfm?abstract_id=1588163

O’Reilly, T, and Battelle, J. (2008), ‘Web Squared: Web 2.0 Five Years On’. Presented at Web 2.0 Summit 2009, at http://www.web2summit.com/web2009/public/schedule/detail/10194

Steeves, V. (2009). ‘Reclaiming the Social Value of Privacy‘, in I. Kerr, V. Steeves, and C. Lucock (eds). Privacy, Identity, and Anonymity in a Network World: Lessons from the Identity Trail. New York: Oxford University Press.

Steeves, V, and Kerr, I. (2005). ‘Virtual Playgrounds and Buddybots: A Data-Minefield for Tweens‘, Canadian journal of Law and Technology 4(2), 91-98.

Turow, Joseph; King, Jennifer; Hoofnagle, Chris Jay; Bleakley, Amy; and Hennessy, Michael. (2009). “Contrary to what marketers say Americans reject tailored advertising and three activities that enable it,” Available at: http://graphics8.nytimes.com/packages/pdf/business/20090929-Tailored_Advertising.pdf

Turow, Joseph. (2007). “Cracking the Consumer Code: Advertisers, Anxiety, and Surveillance in the Digital Age,” in The New Politics of Surveillance and Visibility. Toronto: University of Toronto Press

References for Traffic Analysis, Privacy, and Social Media

the-droids-youre-searching-forIn my presentation at Social Media Camp Victoria (abstract available!), I drew heavily from various academic literatures and public sources. Given the nature of talks, it’s nearly impossible to cite as you’re talking without entirely disrupting the flow of the presentation. This post is an attempted end-run/compromise to that problem: you get references and (what was, I hope) a presentation that flowed nicely!

There is a full list of references below, as well as a downloadable version of my keynote presentation (sorry powerpoint users!). As you’ll see, some references are behind closed academic paywalls: this really, really, really sucks, and is an endemic problem plaguing academia. Believe me when I say that I’m as annoyed as you are that the academic publishing system locks up the research that the public is paying for (actually, I probably hate it even more than you do!), but unfortunately I can’t do much to make it more available without running afoul of copyright trolls myself. As for books that I’ve drawn from, there are links to chapter selections or book reviews where possible.

Keynote presentation [4.7MB; made in Keynote ’09]

References:

Breyer, P. (2005). ’Telecommunications Data Retention and Human Rights: The Compatibility of Blanket Traffic Data Retention with the ECHR‘. European Law Journal 11: 365-375.

Chew, M., Balfanz, D., Laurie, B. (2008). ‘(Under)mining Privacy in Social Networks’, Proceedings of W2SP Web 20 Security and Privacy: 1-5.

Danezis, G. and Clayton, R. (2008). ‘Introducing Traffic Analysis‘, in A. Acquisti, S. Gritzalis, C. Lambrinoudakis, and S. D. C. di Vimercati (eds.). Digital Privacy: Theory, Technologies, and Practices. New York: Auerback Publications. 95-116.

Elmer, G. (2004). Profiling Machines: Mapping the Personal Information Economy. Cambridge, Mass.: The MIT Press.

Friedman, L. M. (2007). Guarding Life’s Dark Secrets: Legal and Social Controls over Reputation, Propriety, and Privacy. Stanford: Stanford University Press. [Excellent book review of text]

Gandy Jr., O. H. (2006). ‘Data Mining, Surveillance, and Discrimination in the Post-9/11 Environment‘, in K. D. Haggerty and R. V. Ericson (eds.). The New Politics of Surveillance and Visibility. Toronto: University of Toronto Press, 79-110. [Early draft presented to the Political Economy Section, IAMCR, July 2002]

Kerr, I. (2002). ‘Online Service Providers, Fidelity, and the Duty of Loyalty‘, in T. Mendina and B. Rockenback (eds). Ethics and Electronic Information. Jefferson, North Carolina: McFarland Press.

Mitrou, L. (2008). ’Communications Data Retention: A Pandora’s Box for Rights and Liberties‘, in A. Acquisti, S. Gritzalis, C. Lambrinoudakis, and S. D. C. di Vimercati (eds.). Digital Privacy: Theory, Technologies, and Practices. New York: Auerbach Publications, 409-434.

Rubinstein, I., Lee, R. D., Schwartz, P. M. (2008). ‘Data Mining and Internet Profiling: Emerging Regulatory and Technological Approaches‘. University of Chicago Law Review 75 261.

Saco, D. (1999). ‘Colonizing Cyberspace: National Security and the Internet’, in J. Weldes, M. Laffey, H. Gusterson, and R. Duvall (eds). Cultures of Insecurity: States, Communities, and the Production of Danger. Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press, 261-292. [Selection from Google Books]

Simmons, J. L. (2009). “Buying You: The Government’s Use of Forth-Parties to Launder Data about ‘The People’,” in Columbia Business Law Review 2009/3: 950-1012.

Strandburg, K. J. (2008). ’Surveillance of Emergent Associations: Freedom of Associations in a Network Society‘, in A. Acquisti, S. Gritzalis, C. Lambrinoudakis, and S. D. C. di Vimercati (eds.). Digital Privacy: Theory, Technologies, and Practices. New York: Auerbach Publications. 435-458.

Winner, L. (1986). The Whale and the Reactor. Chicago: University of Chicago Press. [Book Review]

Zittrain, J. (2008). The Future of the Internet: And How to Stop It. New Haven: Yale University Press. [Book Homepage]

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