COAP:Privacy/2015 edition

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Notes from the presentations and discussion on digital privacy

(From the 2015 class. The instructor tried to compile a rough draft of student contributions and discussion ....)

Summary of issues

  • Privacy is related to society. Without it, no need for privacy. Invasion of privacy is defined as "not consent".
  • What is consent ?
  • Young people have different definitions, also with respect to different locations (e.g. request privacy at home). Privacy of thought is important. Goffman's civil inattention. Young people want to be both private and public.
  • There is direct and indirect peer preasure to participate in social networks, even from the university. People may think that you are boring, don't want to maintain friendship, etc.
  • Survey shows that of 18-24 olds, 82% refuse to give infos to a company (same as old people).
  • Some young people have two accounts. One for the family and one for friends.
  • Online identity is defined by us (contents, activities). Reputation is defined by society, by third parties. These can combine data, use it for their own purposes. This is an issue for children who don't understand long term consequences.
  • Study shows that "facebook likes" predict personality traits. Correlation is very hight for many traits and other personality features. E.g. predict intelligence. Even two "likes" can predict.
  • The older you get the more you share (according to some article).
  • Every person should know what she/he does on the Internet.
  • There are a lot of loopholes in consent forms with respect to anonymity. In addition, consent forms cannot be understood. People cannot understand privacy statements.
  • Permission for mobile phone apps (surveys in Europe and Canada). Ask for too much
  • Does nudging people to be aware of privacy work ? If you "see clearly" "that people use it" then you might react.
  • Change the business model. From "you as a product" to pay services where they become product.
  • No one acts on the world stage, except big companies.

Minimal legal and ethical guidelines

  • Invasion of privacy must be defined by the judicial system in operational terms.
  • "Consent" must be defined.
  • With respect to the younger generation it is difficult to come with recommendations / definitions / rules. However,
    • There should be some privacy at home
    • There should be less peer preasure to participate in Facebook, Snapshot, Instagram, ....
  • There should be levels of privacy in social networking software. Users must be able to configure settings.
    • Very young people should be trained
    • Governement should insist on proctective (private) default settings
    • Should websites actively help people set their privacy settings, e.g. during a posting dialog ?
  • Privacy guidelines must be discussed by all stakeholders
  • Researchers and any other third party should try to understand what "identity, privacy and reputation" means to the youth.
  • There should be warnings that "likes" (or other postings) can be used for predictive modeling (not just in terms of agreement but in popups).
  • How can we force providers to provide clear information about privacy guidelines ? For example translate profile data into single image and show it and tell what they can do with it.
  • Give more importance to education, i.e. people should learn that they should read before they click.
  • Force people to pass a quiz before taking decisions ?
  • The issues must be addressed at "world level", create some basic universal principles.
  • Today's world is about sharing and that cannot be changed .... but dealt with in some ways.