I have admired Danah for years with the amount of work she as put into understanding social media and how young people engage with it. She has done some great work! Now she has published a free book. I haven’t read it yet, but I think it should be good as I’ve read a significant number of her research papers.
I will write more, a review, once I’ve read the book, but I would expect that a target audience of teachers, parents, and us all as a matter of fact for this type of material.
Think about it, everything you do online is digitally preserved somewhere and maybe duplicated a thousand or more times all over the world. Maybe I’m exaggerating here. However the point remains that when I was a teenager what I did was not preserved digitally, only in peoples memories maybe… that can be somewhat unreliable with time, but still it is not black and white for someone today to look at and read and judge using today’s norms as their yard-post. When things, particularly concerning a persons actions are digitally preserved, think that often the context for these actions may be lost. So even if the actions may not have been perceived as really bad at the time.. maybe necessary given the circumstances, later, in a new context…..
There is an amazing discussion going on in LinkedIn Privacy Professionals right now on the “Right to be Forgotten”. Many lawyers are in there along with persons that work in the space of services that can erase your past. It is extremely interesting and thought provoking. I think you only have access if you are a member of this group. In any case points discussed include:
Teenagers that say something damaging/disparaging on another person;
Teenagers that may do something that causes someone else to post embarrassing pictures or things about them online;
Persons wrong arrested for crimes and then being reported in media;
Public figures that erase their past in order to protect their future.
One argument that I very much concur with is that in fact what is perceived as “embarrassing” or damaging today, probably will not in the future, as the younger generation that have grown up in this social media world become normalised to what accepted as “good” or “bad” behaviour. I wrote an article on this in the Hindu (2009) on this. In where I was even bold enough to claim that in the future it will be more damaging to have no online presence than a bad online presence, when today’s generation grow up to be tomorrow’s head-hunters. This means that the need to “erase our digital past” is transitory as one discussant in the forum believed.
Much to think about and contemplate. Check out this article in Forbes on “erasing our past online” and think a little more 😉
So this news about an engineer at Google who allegedly got fired for using his high-level access to stalk teenagers…
It’s nothing new to point out the risks with all the massive data mining that Google and others do through their services. It has been done before. What surprises me is that there seems to be such small reactions to when this data is clearly abused. People usually responds to surveilance that they have nothing to hide. Only criminals have somethin to hide. But is this really true? What if someone right now had access to all the emails you ever read, or written, all web pages you have visited, all search queries you’ve ever done, chat trancripts etc.? I have nothing to hide does not equal that I want to show you everything. Google insist that it’s doing good. I would say that that is a necessary tag line for a company that collects all the personal data on everybody they can reach on the internet. The problem is that Google is a company, full of people who might have their own definition of “doing good”.
BACK FROM VACATION!
And what do I find? Social media is making news again. I saw an article about how Facebook prevents criminal justice. People use social media to identify criminals, which leads to their witness being questioned.
But it’s not all bad, sometimes it can help the police track down criminals to0, as the article also mentions.
And then we have the case where it just gets sad. This news reports that earlier this week, two teenage schoolgirls got taken to court for bugging the teachers staff room. How they got caught? One of them bragged about it on her Facebook-page.
“The Hacker Highschool project is the development of license-free, security and privacy awareness teaching materials and back-end support for teachers of elementary, junior high, and high school students.
Today’s kids and teens are in a world with major communication and productivity channels open to them and they don’t have the knowledge to defend themselves against the fraud, identity theft, privacy leaks and other attacks made against them just for using the Internet. This is the reason for Hacker Highschool.” (Source: The Hacker Highschool Project)
I think these two paragraphs explain quite well the project. Although started several years ago, it is sufficiently interesting to justify a reading.