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Opacity in machine learning algorithms

– by Gry Hasselbalch

In her new article “How the machine ‘thinks’: Understanding opacity in machine learning algorithms” (January 2016) Jenna Burrell from UC Berkley School of Information discusses methods to investigate opacity in algorithms. Once a technical, opaque word belonging to the sphere of computer scientists and programmers, “Algorithm” has today become a commonly used buzz word in business discourse. So much so that discussions about “big data” in an informed business community will always include a reference to the “Algorithmic Economy”. A new business adventure based on finding patterns in data, creating profiles, predicting and responding to data, making meaning out of data and transforming it into value.

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Youth, privacy and online media: Framing the right to privacy in public policy-making

by Gry Hasselbalch Lapenta, Rikke Frank Jørgensen

PUBLICATIONS: The right to privacy is a fundamental human right defined in international and regional human rights instruments. As such it has been included as a core component of key legislature and policy proceedings throughout the brief history of the World Wide Web. While it is generally recognized in public policy making that the right to privacy is challenged in new ways in a structurally transformed online public sphere, the way in which it has been framed does not seem to acknowledge this transformation.

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Study of Youth, Privacy and Social Media: Facebook is a precondition for social participation

PUBLICATIONS: In 2013 the think tank Digital Youth conducted a study among Danish youth in 11 focus groups to explore their strategies to control their privacy on social media.

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Digitaleunge.dk – A Danish site for youth and teachers with info on topics related to internet governance, rights and responsibilities online

In 2013 I co-founded the Danish Think Tank Digital Youth. The think tank’s primary website consists of more than 70 articles and blog postings on topics related to internet governance and individual’s rights and responsibilities online. As editor of the site I also included a number of links to tools, surveys and guides.

I worked at the Danish Media Council for Children and Young People at that time, so it made perfectly good sense to provide youth and teachers with a tool of “translation” in plain language to help them understand internet governance and deal with their right and responsibilities online.

Check out the site here

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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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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“Social Privacy”: Privacy as a social norm in a new form

Privacy is still a social norm – in one form or another – but for sure the way in which we administer our privacy in the open networks has transformed.  When we stop being able to control our privacy with “physical borders”, we start policing them with other forms of limits – social and cultural. Borders that are more invisible; tied up with shared values and social rules – but nonetheless relevant to be able to interpret and administer. This new container of privacy is emerging steadily alongside the development of the open networks.  Its more “silent” in the sense that if you need to understand how it works, you need to look at other things than e.g. people’s use of their “privacy settings” or whether they choose to be on Facebook or not. Because this is a different form of privacy administration that does not take point of departure in the actual architecture of the various services.

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