Modeling Transparency, Openness, and Privacy

Since I am specifically studying what the internet will look like within the BRIC countries in terms of privacy, openness, and transparency, I thought it would be best to lay out a matrix of those three phases plotted versus five key social spheres, which maybe I could call “accountability arenas”.  Since there’s no good way to insert a matrix here without using SlideShare or an image, I’ll just list the results here:

Privacy

  • Personal: Libertarianism, isolationism, anonymity
  • Sexual: Don’t ask, don’t tell
  • Health: Non-contagion/non-preventative care
  • Financial: Shadow market pools, corruption
  • Political: Weak communities, divided citizens, big money interests, oligarchy

Read More »

Danah Boyd on Social Networking and Values

Danah Boyd, a digital ethnographer who was recently hired by Microsoft Research New England to study online social networks, posted a much-publicized essay last year about how she perceived there to be class divisions between the userbases of Facebook and Myspace.  This essay was entitled “Viewing American class divisions through Facebook and MySpace”.

Since part of my research is about whether different cultures and countries will use the internet differently, based on their values, rituals, and customs, it would be important for me to make sure that there indeed is a potential for people to express those key differences by selecting a different social networking site online versus others.  Some would argue that behavior online is converging on universal behavior (generally:  feedback loops, transparency, collaboration), but I think cultures will retain their identities even after buying into the online revolution. Read More »

Google DC Event on Cloud Computing

On Friday, September 12th, Google DC held a talk on cloud computing in its New York Avenue location in downtown Washington, DC.  Specifically, the event discussed a new study by the Pew Internet and American Life Project on “Use of Cloud Computing Applications and Services”.

Moderated by John B. Horrigan, director of the Pew Internet and American Life Project, the talk included

  • Dan Burton, Senior Vice President, Global Public Policy, Salesforce.com
  • Mike Nelson, Visiting Professor, The Center for Communication, Culture, and Technology, Georgetown University
  • Ari Schwartz, Vice President and Chief Operating Officer, Center for Democracy and Technology

Here is a brief write-up of the event.

Cloud computing is basically the offloading of data from individual computers loosely linked to the internet, to a network of computers specifically maintained and interfaced so that people can access that data from any electronic device anywhere in the world. Read More »

Americans’ Attitudes on Digital Footprints (Pew Internet & American Life Project)

I wanted to get more information about “online culture” within the US, since it is still, at least for now, the standard for what an online society looks like in terms of debating privacy versus openness, online presence, and reputation.

In December 2007, the Pew Internet & American Life Project released the findings from its surveys on “digital footprints” and “online identity management and search in the age of transparency”.  You can read the full report (PDF) online, and the questionnaire they used, as well.

It is interesting to study the attitudes versus the actions of social networking users when it comes to privacy versus openness.  The study found that “[m]ost internet users are not concerned about the amount of information available about them online, and most do not take steps to limit that information.” Read More »

Online Cultural Values of Openness and Privacy

Hi, I’m Ben Turner and this is my introductory post. I’m one of the two junior Yahoo! fellows working with Gaurav this year. I am a second-year Master of Science in Foreign Service candidate studying international development, technology policy, and social business entrepreneurship. I am a former US Army veteran of Iraq and have worked as a web designer and a daytrader as well.

I have a personal web site at http://benturner.com/ and my online activities are streamed through FriendFeed. Please feel free to add me!

Research Topic

My research will focus on the relationship between openness and privacy (and transparency, which I consider to be a product of that interaction). My feeling is that there are different expectations and standards for openness and privacy, depending on which cultural sphere you analyze them in; for example, what the online community finds value in is at odds with what the offline community wants. Online and offline values can also vary across cultures and countries: Brazil, Russia, India, China, and the US are all sliding into different models with different priorities for social networking, expression of ideas, velocity of online business transactions, and so on. Read More »