[iDC] Why Parents Help Children Violate Facebook's 13+ Rule

danah boyd zephoria at zephoria.org
Thu Nov 10 02:29:43 UTC 2011

I think that it's irresponsible to collect data about people without their understanding of what's going on and their ability to intervene in a reasonable way.  For one version of why, I recommend reading "The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks" and consider what her family went through.  I also think that a lot of databases are being used to manipulate and segregate people and I think that we need to think through the cultural implications of this. Not at an individual harm level, but at a societal level.  What happens when people of color get different experiences than white folks?  Think: Filter Bubble issues.  Finally, there's the worst case scenario.  I think about how the Dutch government's database on its citizens was abused in the 1940s.  

All of these techs come with good and bad.  I don't want to throw away the good to ward off the bad. But I think that we need to have an informed citizenry and I think that people need to understand the implications of a data society.  I don't think that we can just accept policies that keep people in the dark, even if it's meant to be for their own good. I think that's unethical and immoral.  Thus, what matters most to me is not about protecting people, but about empowering them. Making sure that they can understand what's going on and make informed decisions.


On Nov 8, 2011, at 10:20 AM, John Sobol wrote:

> On Mon, Nov 7, 2011 at 10:56 PM, Seeta Gangadharan <seeta.gangadharan at yale.edu> wrote:
> Hi Lynn/all,
> Though survey research might be useful in ascertaining snapshots of
> low-income communities' sentiments towards surveillance and privacy, I'm
> not certain that a survey will capture breadth of harmful experiences
> that result from tracking or that are perceived to result from tracking.
> I'd love to hear someone who's working toward that end to suggest otherwise.
> Hi all,
> I would be interested to hear from people about this question too, specifically, what are the actual harmful experiences that have resulted from corporate tracking/targeting of teens/kids, as opposed to the perceived or potential harmful experiences? I can think of the RIAA lawsuits but would be keen to hear about others. 
> Personally, as a parent of 'tweens I sympathize with the perspective that assumes that any and all tracking and targeting of our kids - corporate or otherwise - is inherently dangerous and undesirable. But another part of me wonders whether this is not an unfounded assumption.
> For example, I am of the belief that the passion for privacy that is inherent to literate culture and that arises out of the anonymity of literate technology has been a key factor in destroying our perception of the interrelatedness of all things, and thus in enabling our disastrous delusion that it is OK to exploit the earth to death (ours). Perhaps our desire to migrate anonymity into networked culture is a fundamental mistake? Perhaps we need to maximize our interconnectedness and our collective being, not as unknown atomic individuals but as individuals unafraid of being known by our words and deeds (or profile), i.e. not anonymous? Perhaps the price we pay for our targeted social networking is targeted commercial networking? Perhaps it is inevitable and OK that our economy should become personalized - as it once was in oral economies - and our resistance to this stems from our allegiance to literate economic principles and values that are based on impersonal standardization as opposed to targeted personalization and interaction (automated or in-person)? 
> Targeted marketing already serves us well (or does it? I would say it does) on ebay and amazon and etsy etc. Besides, was listening to the radio not a form of targeting, and of suggestive marketing, or watching TV or reading the newspaper? We let our kids do those things, so the difference appears to be in the personalized tracking/targeting capabilities not in the pushing out of suggestions per se. Partly what I'm saying is, do I care if personalized ads as opposed to generic ads are targeted at my daughter? No I don't. Do I care that a vast store of data about her personal and commercial (and when she gets older, professional) life is in the hands of a company that could be hacked or that could sell it to a 3rd party for non-commercial uses? Yes, definitely. So although I don't really care about marketing,  I do care about security. So from my personal perspective, perhaps the focus of researcher's concern should be less on the not-so-nefarious practice of targeted marketing and instead on the seemingly more alarming danger of personal data being exported for non-commercial purposes? 
> Obviously the 'potential' harm is 1984ish and nightmarish. But perhaps the 'potential' benefits, on the other hand, are utopian. Or more likely both are somewhat exaggerated. But I disagree with you Danah when you say that the key determining factor is social norms. I think the determining factor is the architecture of the technology, or the code as you/LL put it.  Because social norms change as a result of technological architectures and not the other way around, despite the fact that it is heresy to say so. (Unfortunately, the Myth of the Myth of Technological Determinism is even more entrenched than the Myth of the Myth of the Digital Native!) So partly what I am wondering is whether - given that the architecture of networked culture promotes personalization and destroys anonymity, fighting that new digital norm is a less useful activity than building constructively on it, no matter how uneasy this may make those of us who were raised to cherish and expect anonymity in commerce and elsewhere. 
> For example, I do not believe that the appropriate response to the RIAA's litigious attacks on digital sharing is deeper hiding and sneakier sharing tools, precisely because downloaders will always be trackable. I think the appropriate response is collective self-empowerment in which millions of people should come together and publicly acknowledge their actions as part of a popular movement to challenge IP law and at the very least stop the harmful music industry attacks on students and their families. Alternately, bands should shed their labels and develop digitally-enabled fanclubs in which every single fan is known by name and can be tracked and targeted, so music and media can flow downstream to fans and money can flow upstream to bands and the RIAA can be left out of it all entirely. That would be an excellent example of benevolent targeted marketing and personalized commerce, and I'd have no problem with my 12 year old sharing her personal info in that context...
> These are open-ended questions. Just thinking out loud and exploring different perspectives...all comments welcome...
> John Sobol
> --
> www.youareyourmedia.com
> _______________________________________________
> iDC -- mailing list of the Institute for Distributed Creativity (distributedcreativity.org)
> iDC at mailman.thing.net
> https://mailman.thing.net/mailman/listinfo/idc
> List Archive:
> http://mailman.thing.net/pipermail/idc/
> iDC Photo Stream:
> http://www.flickr.com/photos/tags/idcnetwork/
> RSS feed:
> http://rss.gmane.org/gmane.culture.media.idc
> iDC Chat on Facebook:
> http://www.facebook.com/group.php?gid=2457237647
> Share relevant URLs on Del.icio.us by adding the tag iDCref


"taken out of context, i must seem so strange" -- ani

More information about the iDC mailing list