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‘Reject All’: Data, Drift and Digital Vigilance
“The cloud is just another word for someone else’s computer” – original source unknown.
Early in 2021, it was announced that Spotify is developing a patent (Jones 2021) to analyse users’ speech patterns to identify their emotions and make better product recommendations for them. In a case of shutting the barn door after the horse has bolted, Jones (2021) reported that this raises questions around privacy and sensitive personal data on a platform where users literally choose the product based on their emotions. More importantly, it raises the question of why people use apps like Spotify at all, when their developments are in step with ever-expansive intrusion into personal privacy.
The central messsage of this chapter is around a greater need for media literacy about privacy and data harvesting. But it could equally be about the reminder of the free choices we have in being online and allowing social technologies a window into our personal lives. This is nothing new in itself, and it is indeed part of the Human Data Interaction (HDI) UK network (https://hdi-network.org/intro_to_hdi/) tenets of Agency, Legibility and Negotiability (Mortier et al 2014).
This chapter extends those commitments to emphasise the individual’s responsibility to become digitally vigilant and to be aware of the choices available when it comes to privacy and surveillance. Its argued that these are not just rights, but that digital vigilance is both an obligation and essential power to exercise. Through this chapter, examples of misuse and of problems with the data economy are explored to show how there is a responsibility for academics and researchers to make the abuses of surveillance more transparent, in order to support the awareness of others to protect their data privacy, especially through its pervasion into educational structures.
References Jones, M. (2021) Personalization 2.0? Spotify wants to listen to your emotions. TechHq, 29 January 2021. https://techhq.com/2021/01/personalization-2-0-spotify-wants-to-listen-to-your-emotions/ Accessed 21 February, 2022 Mortier, R., Haddadi, H., Henderson, T., McAuley, D., Crowcroft, J. (2014). Human Data Interaction: The Human Face of the Data-Driven Society. SSRN Electron. J. https://doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.2508051