Language, power and privacy

Talk at the Indie Tech Summit, Brighton, July 2014
This is the direct transcript of my talk (thank you to the Indie Tech team for doing all the work!) DONT WANT TO READ? SEE THE TALK HERE

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Privacy as Innovation: Background paper, IGF 2014

Privacy is a key emerging issue in Internet Governance processes. Looked upon most often as an area of risk and protection, it is in this paper viewed as an area of opportunity and innovation. A paradigm shift is on its way. This entails a shift in focus where the legal protection of privacy rather than being described solely as an area of governance, policy making and basic human rights guarantee, or as an obstacle to innovation and sharing, can be viewed as the foundation for the evolution of digital media businesses that more critically understand digital media as an evolving architecture of human social relations, and privacy as a new basic market demand. Privacy is core to an ethical evolution of the internet, but it is increasingly also a business model and business opportunity in its own right.

Read the full background paper here

“The right to privacy online” (English translation of my op ed in the Danish newspaper Berlingske Tidende)

In 1992 the public gained access to the former Eastern Germany secret service Stasi archives. They consisted of 180 kilometers files and 35 million other documents, photos , audio, documents and taped phone conversations. The archives are evidence of a gigantic effort. Physical penetration into people’s homes, hours of interception and handling of information. Stasi was established in 1950. This was also the year the European Convention on Human Rights was defined (signed in 1953 ) . Two years before in 1948, the UN Declaration on Human Rights was signed. Both had and still have an article on the right to privacy.

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Outline: Civil society, legal/interstate and technical community responses to the challenges to privacy (talk on “Privacy in the Age of Big Data” )

We have moved on to an important stage in the evolution of the internet characterized by an increasing demand from all sectors of society to regain control. This stage is comprised by legal/interstate responses to the challenges to privacy, technical community responses and civil society sentiments and actions.

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Tillid

“Tillid” har været år 2013’s buzz-word. Alle taler om ”tilliden til internettet”, som noget, der skal genskabes og genopbygges. Og den ”mistillid”, der er fulgt efter sidste års afsløringer om masseovervågning, præsenteres som et kerneproblem. Men måske vi skulle vente lidt med at genskabe tilliden til internettet.

This post is in Danish, because it was written for the Danish version of the Day we Fight Back campaign 11 February 2014.  Read the English translation here

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The internet is broken – but we are still asked to “trust” it?

– by Gry Hasselbalch

“Trust ” was the word of the year. Everyone talks about “trust in the Internet ” as something that needs to be restored and rebuilt. And the mistrust in the internet that followed last year’s revelations about mass surveillance is presented as a core problem. But perhaps we shouldn’t aim to reestablish trust in an internet that is fundamentally broken, before we have actually fixed it.

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The Focus Group Survey 2013: Youth’s Public and Private Lives on Social Media

To assert control over the flow of images, personal content and social contexts is essential to young people when using social media. The Danish think tank Digital Youth published the report Youth’s Public and Private Lives on Social Media in November 2013. The report was based on interviews with young people about their strategies to preserve privacy as well as knowledge about data collection, surveillance, data protection and digital foot prints.

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Privacy is the latest digital media business model (English translation of op ed in Politiken, August 2013)

– by Gry Hasselbalch

If you mentioned privacy and data protection in a discussion about digital media business innovation, data portability and social sharing a few years ago, you would most certainly have been viewed as a spoilsport. But do the same today and you might actually assert yourself as a great innovator.

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“Privacy and Innovation: Rethinking Privacy as an Area of Opportunity”, Internet Governance Forum 2013

(IGF) Workshop (308) Background Paper and video of workshop.

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Privacy enhancing inventions – from the mobile bathing machine to the Anonymizer

“Privacy enhancing technology” is a new concept, but not a new invention. Throughout history conceptual, legal and societal challenges to the private sphere of people have always inspired innovative inventions.

hush-a-phone-ad

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Let’s start from the argument that the accumulation of data is an interference

With one eye on current global debates concerning state surveillance and specifically the NSA Prism scheme, my other eye squint with concern. The arguments put forward supporting schemes such as Prism emphasize the “safe guards” claimed to have been put in place by governments (they do not mention the “transparency” of such schemes, which is a key element of the legal test). Also civil society privacy advocates seem to be mostly concerned with these safeguards, whether they are in place, how they are implemented etc. I’m squinting, because I worry that we get caught up in these arguments, intertwined in their legal particularities, the tests, their specific implementations. Are we not missing the grand picture here?

recording

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NSA revelations: A momentum for privacy as a business model

No hardcore privacy advocate could possibly have been surprised by the recent revelations that we can have absolutely no expectation of privacy in our communicative endeavours today.  But the fact that the rest of the world actually seemed to have been taken by surprise (or at least acted like that) and was alarmed by this, might create a momentum for a change of perspective within the social media industry. Perhaps privacy will finally be perceived as a profitable business.

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Multistakeholderism: Old Power Relations in a fancy new coat or something new to the table?

Make an attempt to attend an “internet governance” initiative without considering the concept multistakeholderism. It’s impossible. Tweets and updates from the recent Internet Governance Forum open consultations and the WSIS+10 event in February as well as the currently ongoing ICANN debates in Beijing illustrate the big buzz word value of the concept. You can’t avoid it. “Multistakeholderism” is the word.

multistakehodlerism

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A shared set of Internet Governance Principles

“To exist is to change, to change is to mature, to mature is to go on creating oneself endlessly.” (Henri Bergson)

These past years the creation of a shared set of global Internet Governance Principles have been a key topic of discussion at the Internet Governance Forum (IGF). Apparently there are twenty something different sets of “Internet Governance Principles” worldwide developed in different contexts and with different purposes. Here’s one example from the Council of Europe’s Committee of Ministers (2011). This vast amount of principles of course leads to what has been named by many “forum shopping”. You pick from what every principles suits your purpose. And consequently this discussion about one set of principles, or at least a compendium of principles that may pave a uniform road forward.

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The 21%: Parents, youth and “surveillance”

The recent survey “Teens, Privacy and Social Media” is an interesting survey for many reasons. Here’s one more. Parents were asked if they had ever “surveilled” their children without their knowledge.  21% answered yes;  a result, which enticed a heavy debate in Danish media about parents control of their children’s online life via e.g. their Facebook profiles (see some of the debates here/links at the bottom).

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Privacy as innovation

“Privacy is an obstacle to innovation”.  This is a common argument when policy debates on privacy protection in the digital age reach the negotiation tables. And it seems to be the main argument behind the heavy lobbying efforts invested  by the industry in the discussions flourishing around the EU data protection reform. Thinking about the “Cloud” and “Big Data”, where data portability since the dawn of the digital age has been the essence of innovative development, it does indeed sound as an obstacle to then want to “protect data”. The concepts Portability and Protection do not sound very well in constellation. But it is all noise. How about embracing the opportunities of the open net and the autonomous private sphere simultaneously? All we need is a different mindset,  business model and tool kit.

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Sliding from self-regulation to self-policing: When internet intermediaries are asked to balance rights

EDRI’s recent report “The slide from self-regulation to corporate censorship” addresses one of today’s biggest challenges when it comes to the balancing of our digital rights.

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Don’t get offended, get used to it: Wikileaks and the breaking down of authority in the network society

“…the more that is found out about what authorities do and know, the less they appear to deserve to be all-powerful authorities… high status is protected through special and exclusive access to information… heads of states who lose their control over information sometimes lose their heads as well” Meyrowitz, 1985, No Sense of Place –The Impact of Electronic Media on Social Behavior, p.  166

Wikileaks’ recent leaks of diplomats’ and states’ off record negotiations and conversations have prompted a number of politicians to stand up for their right to privacy and confidentiality. They all seem a bit offended and surprised by this attack on their integrity. Hillary Clinton’s first response to the leaks was for example delivered with indignation and shock: “every country, including the US, must be able to have honest, private dialogue with other countries … When someone breaches that trust, we are the worse off for it.”

u

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Privacy and Jurisdiction in the Network Society

In the network society, the right to privacy is challenged by new automated methods of collecting data and global information networks used to their full potential by both state actors and non-state actors. New technologies hold a potential for increasingly sophisticated methods of state’s intelligence gathering and police investigations. Moreover, with the introduction of the internet, a space for private parties as data disseminators, collectors and processors has been created. This development has expanded the primarily negative scope of Article 8 of the European Convention of Human Rights to include also positive obligations. In its case law, the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) has on several occasions addressed the challenges of technological progress to the right to privacy and stipulated the positive obligations of states when securing the appropriate balance between the benefits of technologies and the right to privacy. In some aspects the stipulations are rather clear however, there are some implications of the ECHR’s application of a primarily territorial definition of jurisdiction to the question of global information networks that creates a level of uncertainty as to the essence of state parties’ to the convention obligations….

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When Moblogger met Littlebrother – or how new communication technologies influence behaviour

New communication technologies provide people with the tools to be heard and to participate openly in society. They also influence the way we live our everyday lives and interact with each other. Could it be that our awareness of the communication technologies around us leads to a more self-conscious behaviour?

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From the year of “me” to the year of “oops!”

Every year Time’s Magazine awards the person of the year. In 2006, this person was by no surprise “me”. Well, not me as in “me Gry Hasselbalch”,  but “me” as in “me the web 2.0 user”. The award was an aknowledgement of the web 2.0 development and the excitement evolving around it.  A development where “I”, the average person, suddenly got the means to publish stories about myself and to build my online identity with images, texts “blurps!” etc. And boy were we  thrilled with the new ways of expressing ourselves?

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Self-regulation, organisation and governance among internet users

Inappropriate content ‘flagged’ by users, news items ranked by users, online sellers rated by users, online lexica articles written by users and silent agreements among users on socially acceptable behaviour in online communities…

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Digitale kløfter (“Digital divides”, op ed, Dagbladet Information)

En digital revolution har fundet sted. Den er fejet over landene, har forbundet dem med sitrende kabler og signaler og dannet et netværk af vigtige informationer. Den har ændret måden, mange af os kommunikerer, arbejder og lever på. Og den har ændret økonomiske såvel som politiske makrostrukturer.

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Uhyggeligt tæt på (“Uncannily close”, op ed, Dagbladet Information)

Verden føles mindre. Det geografisk afgrænsede rum er blevet til »flows« af ikke kun information og billeder, men også af mennesker. Hvad der engang var langt væk er nu både fysisk, og især symbolsk, gennem massemedierne, uhyggeligt tæt på. Afstand bliver derfor kulturel. Når traditionelle sociale og geografiske grænser nedbrydes, dannes nye symbolske grænser, og verden bliver i stedet inddelt i kulturelle territorier, der bliver tillagt værdi og mening gennem medierne…. Read the full article on www.information.dk