Is privacy dead, or just very confused?

Panel: Siva Vaidhyanathan (UVA), Alice Marwick (NYU), Judith Donath (MIT), Danah Boyd (Microsoft)Personal information is a form of currency. Privacy is not a substance.
Written by Andrew Mager, Inactive

Panel: Siva Vaidhyanathan (UVA), Alice Marwick (NYU), Judith Donath (MIT), Danah Boyd (Microsoft)

Personal information is a form of currency. Privacy is not a substance. It's not something you can trade, or give up. People are willing to trade a little bit of privacy for a better user experience.

Why would anyone want to use Twitter? Who cares what you ate for breakfast?

Is Privacy Dead or Just Very Confused

Marwick says some CEOs say they will not hire people unless they have a Facebook profile. There is social value in taking part in the conversation. If you're not participating in this conversation, you are missing out. Lots of people also use social media to reach out and get help.

The more information you put out there, the more data is out there for marketers. These are my favorite books on Amazon, my favorite songs on Last.fm, my favorite books on GoodReads, etc.

All of this information is aggregated, and this was not possible 10 years ago. Once you make the info public, should it be available for anyone to use?

Online, history is the equivalent of the body. You have many public "faces" online. With Twitter and Facebook, you have such a huge audience, and you have to form your message very specifically.

How can we start to develop technologies that give ourselves a mirror of ourselves? We also need to figure out to design online spaces so you can tell how private it is, says Donath.

In the 1970s, Americans at every level were deeply concerned about their rights as citizens and consumers. There was a movement to protect personal information from abuse from the state. It's illegal for the FBI, for example, to share personal information of yours with the NSA without first informing you.

Siva and panel at SxSW Interactive

It's important to have a historical perspective to see what's normal. Years ago, no one had privacy. People lived in huts and they knew everything about each other.

Every social context has it's own flow of information. Your doctor can't disclose personal information with their best friend. New technologies allows these contexts to flow into each other.

Pro tip: if you put a lot of stuff online, people think you're actually putting everything online. Then you can hold back and kinda have a private life.

Should the default for information sharing be opt-in or opt-out. Good article in NY Times about that yesterday.

You should be in total control of your online presence. It's your data, but more and more, companies like Google and Facebook are so overbearing that you feel like they own it.

We need to sit down and make laws and norms that even people with no former knowledge of digital data can know control their data.

We don't live in a world in which we are immediately faced with living in an environment where if you say something wrong, the government can put you away. But there are many places like that in the world.


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