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?
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.
Humans make sense of reality through narratives. But today reality is taking its toll on the creative sense-making. Continue reading “A Note on Algorithmic Storytelling”
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.
“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.
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).
“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.
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.
“…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.”
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….
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?
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?
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…