It just crystallized for me what I think has been mistaken about thinking of unwanted interaction on social networks as a "privacy" problem. It's not.
A privacy problem is things becoming known more widely than they should, subject to surveillance and contextless scrutiny.The onslaught of sexual harassment on platforms like early Twitter (and later twitter for people of notability), @KeybaseIO, every naive social network is an attack on the right to exist in public. It is the inverse of a privacy problem.But the conceiving of this as a privacy problem brings the wrong solutions. It means we are offered tools to remove ourselves from public view, to restrict our public personas, to retreat from public life. It means women are again confined to private sphere, denied civic life.It's so endemic, so entrenched, and so normal that women should have to retreat to protect ourselves that we think of this as part of femininity. A strong civic life is seen as unfeminine, forward. It poisons us politically, socially, and personally.It is, at its core, an attack on democracy as well.The only way to undo this is to reconceive of this, not as a privacy problem but as an attack on public life. There will be new problems with this but at least they will be new.There has been work done on this, but I've never seen it connected to civic life, and this connects with my thoughts and work on community. The unit that social networks must focus on cannot be the individual. We do not exist as individuals first but as members of our communitiesWhen a new user joins a social network, their connection must be to their peers, their existing social relationships. A new user can only be onboarded in the context of relationships already on the network.Early adopters form such a community, but extrapolating from the joining of those initial members to how to scale the network misses the critical transition: from no community to the first, not from the first users to the next.New communities can only be onboarded by connections from individuals that span communities. New communities must be onboarded collectively, or the network falls to the army of randos.The irony is that surveillance capitalism has the information to do this but not the will, because as objects of marketing, we are individuals, statistics and demographics, not communities. The reality lies in plain sight.There have been attempts at social networks, sadly none dense enough to succeed, but that treat people as part of a web, and that their peers can shield and protect them. The idea is solid.The other alternative is to stop trying to give people a solitary identity, a profile and onboarding to a flat network, but instead only provide them with community connections. Dreamwidth is this to a large degree, if too sparse for most people to connect.Our social networks must connect us, not to our "friends" but to our communities. The ones that succeed do this by intent or by accident.
Facebook has a narrow view of community, but for those it matches, it works. With major flaws, but it does.Twitter, its community of early adopters, its creepy onboarding by uploading your contacts and mining data to connect you works. If I were to join and follow a few people I know, it would rapidly suggest many more people in my queer and trans community. It works.And this is why Ello failed. This is why Diaspora failed. This is why Mastodon succeeded, if only by scraping by the bare minimum. This is why gnu social failed. This is why a random vbulletin forum can succeed. The ones that succeed connect a dense community.Note that gnu social and mastodon are the same protocol! But they are different social networks. The difference in their affordances and the community structures they encourage are vastly different, despite interoperating.I'd say I don't know how apparent this problem is to white men — the ones largely designing these networks — but I do know. I know because of the predictable failures we see.
Part of this, I think boils down to how invisible community is when you are the default user.At no time am I unaware that I am trans, that I am a woman, that the people I follow and who follow me are distinct from the background. I can spot my people in a crowd on the internet with precision, just like a KNN clustering can.Trans culture in particular is Extremely Online. We are exceptionally easy to onboard to a new platform. But the solution can scale if we focus on solving it. And by knowing who is in the community (likely) and who is not, we can understand what is and is not harassment.We don't need to even know what the communities are — Twitter does not — and yet it knows how we cluster, and that suffices.
If we stop thinking of this as a privacy problem — letting us hide from the connections that are our solution — we can enlarge public life.That exceptional article —We can only fight this with a new, loose solidarity and an awareness of community boundaries. We can build technology that makes space for us to be safe online by being present with those that support us, and react together, rather than as individuals and separating us for safetyThis thread has meandered a bit, but I'm dancing around something important. We fundamentally need to stop organizing online activity the way we do. Follow and be followed is not where it's at.
It's join, manage attention, build connection.Stop sorting things topically and trying to find connections in content.
Start looking for clusters of relationships between people.
The question should not be "what is this about?" but "who is this for?"
A document obtained by Motherboard shows how DMVs sell people’s names, addresses, and other personal information to generate revenue.
In a statement, Apple said the employee was "no longer associated with our company."
Documents from a 2015 lawsuit allege that the tech giant’s policies were anticompetitive and misrepresented to the public
The following document is an in-progress draft of a statement that might be included with a syllabus to help raise student awareness about controversial data collection practices carried out in many of the technologies they use for learning. Though we cannot always change, fully understand, or opt out of these practices, we feel that ignoring their presence contributes to the broader helplessness in confronting the mass exploitation of personal data at large. This is meant to be a template statement that a professor could revise for inclusion in the syllabus, regardless of the subject matter of the course. We recognize that some power dynamics may not allow for such a statement and that each person should decide for themselves if such a statement in their syllabus is possibile considering their context. If anything we feel the idea of such a statement makes for an excellent thought experiment to address questions of the use of problematic collection and use of student data and to develop conversation around these issues. This draft was started by Autumm Caines and Erin Rose Glass and then opened to group comments during their "Architecture of Student Privacy" workshop during the Domains 2019 conference. We are now soliciting further comments in order to create a template for circulation and plan to write up the process for publication.
are you concerned about student data collection practices but don't know what to do about it? @autumm & i workshopped a student privacy statement to include w/ syllabus as a means to raise student awareness at #domains19
we would love your feedback!https://t.co/V0DjcDLKvl
— erin glass (@erinroseglass) June 11, 2019
At the OLC Innovate conference—a conference where I was presenting with Adam Croom about the need to be more thoughtful and careful with student data—I ran into my own issues with unnecessary surveillance and invasions of privacy: Door keepers at the entrance to every session demandingly and som...
Controversial ‘smart locks’ show the way that surveillance tech begins with the poor, before spreading to the rest of us
Instead, when we talk about technology, we should be thinking about power dynamics.
Great piece about ethics in technology.
Multiple sources and emails also describe SnapLion, an internal tool used by various departments to access Snapchat user data.
A massive database containing contact information of millions of Instagram influencers, celebrities and brand accounts has been found online. The database, hosted by Amazon Web Services, was left exposed and without a password allowing anyone to look inside. At the time of writing, the database had…
Google collects the purchases you've made, including from other stores and sites such as Amazon, and saves them on a page called Purchases.
This post captures a back and forth text conversation that Tannis Morgan and I had about an idea that piqued her interest from my NGDLE rant in 2017. I really enjoyed the way we worked this up between us. I wrote a lot of it fast and off the cuff and I’m sure with editing it would be more coherent, but hey ho, it can stand. As an aside we used the excellent Etherpad setup courtesy of the B.C. OpenETC. Etherpad remains one of my favourite tools for super-simple collaborative writing.
We are joined by Chris Gilliard, Professor of English at Macomb Community College. His scholarship concentrates on privacy, institutional tech policy, digital redlining, and the re-inventions of discriminatory practices through data mining and algorithmic decision-making, especially as these apply to college students. He is currently developing a project that looks at how popular misunderstandings of mathematical concepts create the illusions of fairness and objectivity in student analytics, predictive policing, and hiring practices. Follow him on Twitter at @hypervisible.
- Pedagogy and the Logic of Platforms (Educause)
- Living Apart: How the Government Betrayed a Landmark Civil Rights Law (ProPublica)
- How Youth Navigate the News Landscape (Knight Foundation)
I’m a bit surprised to find that I’ve been blocked by Chris Gilliard (@hypervisible) on Twitter. I hope I haven’t done or said anything in particular to have offended him. More likely I may have been put on a block list to which he’s subscribed?? Just not sure. I’ll have to follow him from another account as I’m really interested in his research particularly as it applies to fixing these areas within the edtech space and applications using IndieWeb principles. I think this may be the first instance that I’ve gone to someone’s account to notice that I’ve been blocked.
Facebook’s leaders seriously discussed selling access to user data — and privacy was an afterthought.
Make your tweets ephemeral and your Facebook impenetrable.