Playing Catch-Up: Privacy, Broadband and Stuff

Some notes on sessions that are out of sequence:

Lorraine KissenburghLorraine Kisselburgh spoke about the ‘social structure and discursive construction’ of privacy – with a surprisingly practical approach, given the very theoretical title! Her methods include interviews, network analysis and more, and she is looking in particular at privacy settings in Facebook etc. There were strong links between the discussion at this seminar and the work presented by Fred Stutzman (on social networks) and Karen McCullagh (on privacy). Facilitator Brian Fitzgerald (QUT, also in picture) sparked an interesting discussion on ethics and anonymity in the context of research. Spelling corrected.

Furthermore, I should note a very entertaining and informative discussion last week based around Kang and Buchner’s Privacy In Atlantis dialogue. This paper is an imagined conversation between a Counsellor and a Technologist, an Economist, a Philosopher and a Merchant. Our conversation picked up where the paper left off, and featured a star line-up (or a rogue’s gallery ;)) of contributors, including John Clippinger, Bill McGeveran (who reflected on the experience here) and David Weinberger….and the liberal use of our online/on-screen ‘question tool’. I threw up a cheeky ‘thought experiment’ on what should happen with a hypothetical perfect surveillance system, which was grabbed by McGeveran (as moderator/Counsellor) – to my surprise – and became a fulcrum for a brief period, which meant that I had to think it through in more detail than I expected! Oops.

AdamThis week, Adam Fiser of the Faculty of Information Studies (FIS) at the University of Toronto (a nice place: I camped out in their great library, the Inforum last summer) took us through his work on Internet access and First Nations communities in Northern Ontario, focusing on the K-Net project of the Keewaytinook Okimakanak tribal council. Adam himself has had an involvement with the Canadian Research Alliance for Community Innovation and Networking (CRACIN) and the Community Wireless Research Project (CWIRP) and has engaged with the various levels of the government and aboriginal bureaucracies in Canada – his views on academia & activism were very interesting. Given the current, changing political climate in Canada (a theme picked up by Adam in a question to me in my own presentation), what he’s studied in terms of broadband use and the governance of frequencies, connections, etc is far too important to be ignored.

This morning, we talked about ‘Wikipedia and Peer Production‘ in the company of John Palfrey and Jonathan Zittrain (who provided us with a chapter from his forthcoming book), joined by Doc Searls part of the way through. Zittrain’s key question was “should we care that academia did not come up with Wikipedia”, and that acted as a nice bridge into an extended discussion of research ideas and principles (including the difference between law and social science) – although this wasn’t a direct intention, I suspect, it was one of the most useful ‘macro/meta’ conversations I’ve ever had about my PhD research!

Ismael has detailed notes on these, as well as other things I may have missed (due to poor notetaking, over-eager participation, or simply not being in two places at once).

2 comments

  1. David Brake says:

    Do you have any contact details for Lorraine Kissenburgh? Her project and presentation sounds interesting but this blog posting is all that comes up when I google for her name!

  2. Lorraine Kisselburgh says:

    David — My name is slightly misspelled here (last name is “Kisselburgh”), hence the empty google search! :-) I will contact you off-blog to chat.
    -Lorraine

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