Week 10_Summer Hatfield

One of the biggest ethical issues that I have been thinking about throughout this term is privacy. How do we be respectful of it, or in some cases how do we be transparent enough so that people are aware of the potential violation of their own privacy? It has come up in different ways in our viewings, in my group project, and in things I have explored on my own. In our viewing for example, it came up when we looked at the Swipe project by Brook Singer. This is one case where a media artist is trying to raise awareness of a violation of privacy. Most people don’t know that detailed databases are being created from their private information every time their ID is swiped in a bar, so Singer’s goal is bring it to peoples’ attention so they can do something about it. On the site it says, “With public knowledge there is a chance for public voices, and ultimately resistance.” This also makes me think of one of the bigger issues of the year, and that is Edward Snowden’s exposure of the major privacy violations by government surveillance programs. I fully believe in transparency, and for that I think Snowden, just like Singer, is a hero for raising public knowledge.

In my group project the issue of privacy came up because we were dealing with minors for part of the engagement process. The issue was about how to protect the identity of minors when using photos of them online, and what is ok to post when dealing with minors. In the end we decided it would be best to try to keep the identity of each teen discreet.

In my own exploration privacy is a huge issue that ranges from how much is too much to share about somebody and what types of things do you have to have permission for, to how do you “listen” to what audiences are saying about certain issues without invading their privacy? It is an issue that I think will always have blurred lines, but that I will continue to do my best to understand.

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4 comments to Week 10_Summer Hatfield

  • Lindsey Newkirk

    Those are great thoughts about ethics; there is a relatively never ending list of consideration in digital culture. As curators we need to consider the privacy of our participants. We have to consider our own privacy as participants We have an opportunity to expose violations as you say, around our privacy at great lengths thanks to social media. Unfortunately we are still likely unaware of many of them.

    As there are codes of ethics in the communication industry, I’m curious when they will be expanded to include privacy issues online and in social media. I think it’s likely in our near future that users of digital communications; wether business or individuals (government would be unlikely I suppose), will have to include disclaimers. At least I can hope so.

  • jarrattt@uoregon.edu

    I watch the Today show sometimes. Oops! Anyway this morning they were talking about how marketing companies can follow you in stories and know what aisles you go down and when you go down them by following where your smartphone is located. I guess it’s kinda like how they can now track the traffic and how slowly or quickly it is moving by seeing where people’s phones are located. Anyway, the report was kinda hinting at the potentially unethical nature of what the the marketing companies are doing by tracking people this way. They said that the companies were only doing it for marketing purposes, but the potential is there for many other uses of that information as well. The Today Show’s advice: Turn off your phone while you are in the store so that they can’t track you. While this is a good idea I am sure that it won’t be on every person’s mind to turn off their phone each time they enter a store. It also puts the onus on the individual to prevent the unethical use of their information instead of the marketing companies. So, it kinda says what they are doing is something we just have to accept and it’s our responsibility to change instead of their responsibility to act in a more ethical manner.

  • dereky@uoregon.edu

    As you probably know, marketing companies track your browsing habits online too. You should check out the Ted Talk with Gary Kovacs(CEO of Mozilla). It’s kind of scary, like somebody is stalking you online. I guess that is what makes your browsing experience more tailored to your personal tastes. I recently noticed how the ads scrolling on my google search pages were based on recent search I made on Amazon. They are all collectively trying to get our hard earned money.

  • summerh@uoregon.edu

    Jarratt, I watch that show sometime too! 🙂 I think I remember seeing that episode even. Its really scary and sad how very little privacy citizens have these days. But even more sad is how hush-hush companies and the government are about infiltrating every single aspect of our daily lives. And it really says a lot that the responsibility is put on the individuals. I understand from a marketing aspect why they would want track people’s moves, but you are right, it does open up a lot of potential for other uses.

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