Our new Multi-Account Containers extension for Firefox means you can finally wrangle multiple email/social accounts. Maybe you’ve got two Gmail or Instagram or Twitter or Facebook a...
Update: We’ve added comments at the end of the post pointing out that the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) considers an email address to be personally identifiable information or PII. Gravatar is a service that provides users with a profile image that can appear on many sites across the Net. It is integrated with …
I saw the internet create and destroy a bizarro version of myself.
I’ve been reading some pieces from my archive on context collapse and people losing jobs/opportunities as the result of online bullies digging up old social media posts which has become a bigger issue as of late. Many people have been wanting to leave social media platforms for their toxic cultures, and this seems to be a subset of that in that it has people going back and deleting old social posts for fear of implications in the present.
Quinn Norton has some relatively sage advice about the internet in this piece. Of course it’s no coincidence that The New York Times editorial board wanted to hire her.
Highlights, Quotes, Annotations, & Marginalia
History doesn’t ask you if you want to be born in a time of upheaval, it just tells you when you are. ❧
August 03, 2018 at 08:00AM
I have a teenage daughter, and I have told her all her life that all the grown-ups are making it up as they go along. I have also waggled my eyebrows suggestively while saying it, to make it clear to her that I mean me, too. ❧
August 03, 2018 at 08:00AM
This taught me that not everyone worthy of love is worthy of emulation. It also taught me that being given terrible ideas is not a destiny, and that intervention can change lives. ❧
August 03, 2018 at 08:02AM
Not everyone believes loving engagement is the best way to fight evil beliefs, but it has a good track record. Not everyone is in a position to engage safely with racists, sexists, anti-Semites, and homophobes, but for those who are, it’s a powerful tool. Engagement is not the one true answer to the societal problems destabilizing America today, but there is no one true answer. The way forward is as multifarious and diverse as America is, and a method of nonviolent confrontation and accountability, arising from my pacifism, is what I can bring to helping my society. ❧
August 03, 2018 at 08:03AM
I am not immune from these mistakes, for mistaking a limited snapshot of something for what it is in its entirety. I have been on the other side. ❧
August 03, 2018 at 08:04AM
I had been a victim of something the sociologists Alice Marwick and danah boyd call context collapse, where people create online culture meant for one in-group, but exposed to any number of out-groups without its original context by social-media platforms, where it can be recontextualized easily and accidentally. ❧
August 03, 2018 at 08:05AM
I had even written about context collapse myself, but that hadn’t saved me from falling into it, and then hurting other people I didn’t mean to hurt. ❧
August 03, 2018 at 08:06AM
It helped me learn a lesson: Be damn sure when you make angry statements. ❧
August 03, 2018 at 08:07AM
Don’t internet angry. If you’re angry, internet later. ❧
August 03, 2018 at 08:07AM
Context collapse is our constant companion online. ❧
August 03, 2018 at 08:07AM
I used to think that showing someone how wrong they were on the internet could fix the world. I said a lot of stupid things when I believed that. ❧
August 03, 2018 at 08:08AM
I am not, and will never be, a simple writer. I have sought to convict, accuse, comfort, and plead with my readers. I’m leaving the majority of my flaws online: Go for it, you can find them if you want. It’s a choice I made long ago. ❧
August 03, 2018 at 08:09AM
If you look long enough you can find my early terrible writing. You can find blog posts in which I am an idiot. I’ve had a lot of uninformed and passionate opinions on geopolitical issues from Ireland to Israel. You can find tweets I thought were witty, but think are stupid now. You can find opinions I still hold that you disagree with. I’m going to leave most of that stuff up. In doing so, I’m telling you that you have to look for context if you are seeking to understand me. You don’t have to try, I’m not particularly important, but I am complicated. When I die, I’m going to instruct my executors to burn nothing. Leave the crap there, because it’s part of my journey, and that journey has a value. People who came from where I did, and who were given the thoughts I was given, should know that the future can be different from the past. ❧
August 03, 2018 at 08:13AM
In the Interdisciplinary Studies program where I have begun working, we encourage students to go public with their work. It’s a common idea well beyond interdisciplinary studies: for students to feel more engaged with the work they do, to feel that what they are doing matters, they need to do that...
An interesting take on open pedagogy to be sure. On my own website, I often default to public without taking much thought for the difference between open vs. private–though to be sure I do have a lot of private posts hidden on my back end that only I or other invited guests can view.
This article is sure to be germane to those reading on the topic of Open and Privacy for #EDU522. Within that realm I have automatically defaulted to posting everything public, in part to act as a potential model for my fellow classmates as well as for how teachers and students in general could potentially execute on open pedagogy using an IndieWeb model built on webmentions.
While my website apparently gets about 400 views a day lately, I suspect it’s a very small and specific niche audience to the set of topics I tend to write about. Since I post everything that I post online to my own website first, I have a more concentrated posting velocity than many/most, but it also means that some specific topics (like #EDU522 for example) can get lost in the “noise” of all the other posts on my site. If one compares this to others in the class who’ve only recently set up sites which have less than 10 views a day likely, there is a marked difference in public/private for them. (The concept of “privacy through obscurity” similar to its predecessor “security through obscurity” comes to mind, but one must remember it only takes one intruder to cause a problem.) Of course this doesn’t discount the fact that one’s public posts today, which seemingly disappear from the immediate rush of information, may still be found in the long-tails of their personal data to potentially be found years hence. With recent examples of people being fired for Tweets they made years ago (often taken out of context, or with serious context collapse) this can be a troubling issue.
Some recent examples:
- Disney Fires ‘Guardians of the Galaxy’ Director Over Offensive Tweets1
- New York Times Editorial board hired and fired Quinn Norton on the same day because internet trolls created a digital effigy of her using old social media posts from years prior. Even more ironic, she’s written and extensively studied context collapse.2–4
Public figures and journalists5 are actively deleting their tweets as a result, though this isn’t really a new phenomenon as people know that employers and others can search for their old content. As Ella Dawson has indicated, “We’re all public figures now”.
I don’t suspect there may be anything too particularly controversial in my #EDU522 posts recently that I might want to make private at a later date following the course (or even delete altogether), but who knows? Perhaps the public thinking on these topics changes drastically and I would wish to make them disappear a decade or two hence? It’s definitely something worth thinking about.
One of the benefits of supporting many of the IndieWeb tools and philosophies is that I can quickly make my old posts private to just me and with syndication links on them indicating where I’ve syndicated them in the past, I could very quickly go to those silos and delete them there as well. Of course this doesn’t get rid of copies out of my control or in locations like the Internet Archive.
Within the realm of open pedagogy, IndieWeb technology (and Webmention), one could certainly default their classes websites to private or semi-private. The WithKnown platform may presently be the best one for doing such a thing, though there are a few hoops one may need to jump through to set it up properly. As a brief example, there would need to be a private class hub site on which the teacher and students would need their own accounts. Then, so that students might own all of their own work, they would need their own sites to which they might post privately as well. The hub and the students’ sites could then use the Known OAuth2 server so that students could post their work privately on their own site, but still automatically syndicate it into their account on the semi-private class website. Of course, even here a student is relying on reasonable data security for the semi-private class site as well as having the expectation that their professor, fellow classmates, or the institution itself wouldn’t put their semi-private data into the public sphere at a future date.
As a proof of concept and an example of this type of workflow, I’ll highlight two posts (though in this case, both public instead of private so that you can actually see them) which I’ve made on two separate domains both running WithKnown:
- A post on my personal website
- A syndicated copy of that post on a public and openly aggregated multi-user Known install
image credit (also used on Matthew Cheney’s original post): “Dundas Square in Downtown Toronto, Ontario, Canada” by Pedro Szekely, Wikimedia Commons, licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 Generic license.
Some tracking scripts may be harmless. But others are designed to recognize I.P. addresses and embed cookies that collect information prized by advertisers.
The idiotic places we end up seeing surveillance capitalism just kills me.
Administrators: But they were give us the technology for free…
Really? Why not try pooling small pieces of resources within states to make these things you want and protect your charges? I know you think your budget is small, but it shouldn’t be this expensive.
I recently purged the data from my Facebook account. This effort was shockingly labour intensive: it took a browser script all weekend to crunch, and still many aspects of the process required manual execution. Torching years and years of old Facebook activity felt so liberating that I found another...
A short, but solid piece on why James has left social media and consciously moved to his own blog and feed reader. I’m curious what his thoughts are a bit on into his experience. He’s definitely worth a follow.
A woman gets on a plane. She’s flying from New York to Dallas, where she lives and works as a personal trainer. A couple asks her if she’ll switch seats with one of them so that they can sit together, and she agrees, thinking it’s her good deed for the day. She chats with her new seatmate and ...
This story brings up some interesting questions about private/public as well as control on the internet. Social media is certainly breaking some of our prior social norms.
Highlights, Quotes, Annotations, & Marginalia
To summarize his argument, the media industry wants to broaden our definition of the public so that it will be fair game for discussion and content creation, meaning they can create more articles and videos, meaning they can sell more ads. The tech industry wants everything to be public because coding for privacy is difficult, and because our data, if public, is something they can sell. Our policy makers have failed to define what’s public in this digital age because, well, they don’t understand it and wouldn’t know where to begin. And also, because lobbyists don’t want them to. ❧
We actively create our public selves, every day, one social media post at a time. ❧
Even when the attention is positive, it is overwhelming and frightening. Your mind reels at the possibility of what they could find: your address, if your voting records are logged online; your cellphone number, if you accidentally included it on a form somewhere; your unflattering selfies at the beginning of your Facebook photo archive. There are hundreds of Facebook friend requests, press requests from journalists in your Instagram inbox, even people contacting your employer when they can’t reach you directly. This story you didn’t choose becomes the main story of your life. It replaces who you really are as the narrative someone else has written is tattooed onto your skin. ❧
What Blair did and continues to do as she stokes the flames of this story despite knowing this woman wants no part of it goes beyond intrusive. It is selfish, disrespectful harassment. ❧
Previously this was under the purview of journalists who typically had some ethics as well as editors to prevent this from happening. Now the average citizen has been given these same tools that journalists always had and they just haven’t been trained in their use.
How can we create some feedback mechanism to improve the situation? Should these same things be used against the perpetrators to show them how bad things could be? ❧
A friend of mine asked if I’d thought through the contradiction of criticizing Blair publicly like this, when she’s another not-quite public figure too. ❧
Did this really happen? Or is the author inventing it to diffuse potential criticism as she’s writing about the same story herself and only helping to propagate it?
There’s definitely a need to write about this issue, so kudos for that. Ella also deftly leaves out the name of the mystery woman, I’m sure on purpose. But she does include enough breadcrumbs to make the rest of the story discover-able so that one could jump from here to participate in the piling on. I do appreciate that it doesn’t appear that she’s given Blair any links in the process, which for a story like this is some subtle internet shade.
But Blair is not just posting about her own life; she has taken non-consenting parties along for the ride. ❧
the woman on the plane has deleted her own Instagram account after receiving violent abuse from the army Blair created. ❧
Feature request: the ability to make one’s social media account “disappear” temporarily while a public “attack” like this is happening.
We need a great name for this. Publicity ghosting? Fame cloaking?
Psychologist Michal Kosinski says artificial intelligence can detect your sexuality and politics just by looking at your face. What if he’s right?
How in God’s name are we repeating so many of the exact problems of the end of the 1800’s? First nationalism and protectionism and now the eugenics agenda?
In what way are avatars a privacy risk? To display an avatar image, you publish an encrypted version (MD5) of the e-mail address in the gravatar’s image URL. Gravatar.com then decides if there is an avatar image to deliver, otherwise the default image is delivered. The default image’s address is also part of the overall gravatar …
Avatars from Gravatar.com are great, but they come with certain privacy implications. You as site admin may already know this, but your visitors and users probably don’t. Avatar Privacy can help to improve the privacy situation by making some subtle changes to the way avatars are displayed on your site.
The plugin works without changing your theme files if you use a modern theme, and it does support (simple) multisite installations. It requires at least PHP 5.6 and WordPress 4.9. For the plugin to do anything for you, you need to visit the discussion settings page in the WordPress admin area and save the new settings. Please note that the plugin does not provide an options page of its own, it rather adds to the existing discussion settings page.
I’m going on the journey of building a simple, private, self-hosted, cookie-free analytics tool that I’m calling Kownter. I may fail. But it will be fun and interesting! Come along!
Hi, My name is Ross. I’ve been thinking a lot about GDPR lately and considering how I will become compliant with it as I run my business and projects, so I’m looking to slim down the data that I capture about people.
The topics of both analytics and server logs have come up several times. It’s not entirely clear to me that either fall into the category of personal data, but I’ve been considering my use of them anyway.
I use Google Analytics on most sites/projects that I create, but I’m not that sophisticated in my use of it. I’m mostly interested in:
and it occurred to me that I can collect this data without using cookies and without collecting anything that would personally identify someone.
- how many visitors I’m getting and when
- which pages are popular
- where people are coming from
I would also be happier if my analytics were stored on a server in the EU rather than in the US – I can’t find any guarantee that my Google Analytics data is and remains EU-based.
I’m aware that there are self-hosted, open-source analytics solutions like Matomo (previously Piwik) and Open Web Analytics. But they always seem very large and clunky. I’ve tried them and never got to grips with them.
So I wondered: how hard would it be to build my own, simple, high-privacy, cookie-free analytics tool?