The UW-Milwaukee Center for Information Policy Research is proud to be a co-sponsor of the 2015 Information Ethics Roundtable, hosted and organized by Dr. Alan Rubel at the University of Wisconsin-Madison School of Library and Information Studies.
Now in its thirteenth year, the Information Ethics Roundtable an annual conference that brings together information scientists, librarians, philosophers, and social scientists to discuss ethical issues such as intellectual property, intellectual freedom, and censorship.
For 2015, the theme is “Transparency and Secrecy”. The full call for papers is available here, and posted below.
Welcome to the Information Ethics Roundtable 2015.
Date: April 9-10, 2015
Location: University of Wisconsin-Madison, Memorial Union South
Theme: Transparency and Secrecy
- Louise Amoore, Professor of Geography, Durham University (UK), author of The Politics of Possibility: Risk and Security Beyond Probability (Duke University Press, 2013).
- Christopher Kutz, C. William Maxeiner Distinguished Professor of Law; Director, Kadish Center for Morality, Law and Public Affairs, University of California, Berkeley.
Transparency is important in a variety of ways, and disputes about transparency and secrecy permeate much of our public discourse. This year’s meeting of the IER seeks papers from a variety of perspectives and disciplines addressing questions about transparency and secrecy, for example:
- What is transparency? What does it mean for something to be kept secret or made transparent?
- What justifies transparency in different domains?
- When is transparency bad, or unjustifiable? When is secrecy good, or justifiable?
- Lots of organizations seek to make government and corporate actions transparent (e.g., fact-checking organizations, open records advocacy organizations, market watchdog groups). Do they succeed? What criteria should we use to determine whether they succeed? Do they introduce other questions of information flow?
- What policies in scientific research and publishing, in journalism, in government, and in commerce best promote transparency?
- Is secret law really law?
- Is it possible to maintain and build trust within a climate of secrecy?
The goal of the 2015 Roundtable is to bring together scholars and professionals to examine these and related issues pertaining to transparency and secrecy, broadly construed. Hence, we welcome submissions on these and any related topics, and we encourage submissions from a broad range of disciplines.
Please submit an abstract of about 500 words to firstname.lastname@example.org by January 5, 2015. Abstracts will be peer reviewed, and notification of acceptance status will be sent by January 20, 2015. Paper drafts for commentators will be due by March 10, 2015.
More information is available at http://ier2015.org. For specific questions and inquiries, please contact organizer Alan Rubel at email@example.com.
Please join us for this CIPR Research Lunch on Sept 17, 2014, featuring Dr. Christopher Terry (Journalism, Advertising and Media Studies). A light lunch will be provided.
Porn, Privacy, Copyright and Net Neutrality: Standing at the Digital Crossroads of Constitutive Choice
Dr. Christopher Terry
Lecturer, Journalism, Advertising and Media Studies, UW-Milwaukee
Wednesday, September 17, 2014
12:30 – 2:00pm
2025 E Newport Ave
Milwaukee, WI 53211
In The Creation of the Media: Political Origins of Modern Communications, sociologist Paul Starr developed a theory of “constitutive choice” to explain how the U.S. systems of mass communication had evolved differently from those of other countries. Starr explains that the design a country’s communication system is reflective of a society’s value system related to free speech, access to information, privacy and copyright. Just as with earlier systems of mass communication, as digital technology becomes a fundamental part of our media environment, we see three key issues arise-Privacy, Copyright and Net Neutrality. In terms of a media system, this is part and parcel of the constitutive choices we face in terms of the integration of the next generation of mass communication.\
Our digital media environment was shaped by the constitutive choices made in relationship to earlier communication systems but also by the changing of our traditional value system away from a citizen orientated perspective to one based in economics. Although the basic design of digital communications are reflective of the constitutive choices made for systems of communication as far back as the U.S. Postal System, the change in values away from citizen access has had a profound effect on how the system operates, the values it serves and the ways information is distributed.
The design of a system is reflective of its values, and with these changes, the dynamics, operation and design of our communication system have shifted substantially. Although policy researchers and other academics frequently discuss these changes as separate issues, the reality of modern issues of privacy and the ethics of mass data collection can be increasingly tied to the issues of surrounding digital copyright, access to information and net neutrality.
This project proposes that at the center of all of these issues, standing at the ethical crossroads between the choices we make in relationship to access to information, copyright and privacy in the digital age, is a significant series of intellectual property cases involving the illegal downloading of pornography. More than any other example, the nature of these cases illustrates the intersection between these essential values in the digital age. In terms of privacy, violators have been identified using an invasive tracking mechanism. In terms of net neutrality, internet service providers are using these cases as justification for throttling or content blocking. In terms of copyright, the constitutional premise of copyright to stimulate and enhance has been replaced by a desire to use existing copyright law as a way to coerce financial settlements by threatening to expose serial downloaders. These collective changes are setting a dangerous precedent that undermines our system of communication and the role it plays in a democratic society. Pornography has replaced political speech as non-governmental entities control our access to information.
This paper combines historical, legal and policy research to trace the significant changes in terms of ethics, law, content distribution, our value system and constitutive choice to illustrate that the time to rethink and reevaluate our priorities is now.
To assist in research on intellectual freedom and the rights of library patrons to read, seek information, and speak freely, the Center for Information Policy Research has launched an archive of challenges to public library materials, currently housed at the Digital Commons at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee Libraries.
We strive to collect and make available all relevant complaint materials, news reports, public comments, relevant communications available through public records requests. The archive currently contains materials related to the 2009 challenge at the West Bend (WI) Community Memorial Library, which was recently featured in a a special issue of Library Trends, and we are currently collecting materials related to the 2013 challenge at Orland Park Public Library (IL).
Former CIPR co-director, Dr. Joyce Latham, along with Barbara Jones, director of the ALA’s Office of Intellectual Freedom, have edited a special issue of Library Trends dedicated to the 2009 controversy over select Young Adult books at the West Bend Community Memorial Library.
The special issue, titled “The West Bend Challenges: Open Access and Intellectual Freedom in the Twenty-First Century“ serves as “a case study of a library confronting organized challenge to its execution of its role in American culture,” and the articles contained within the issue reflect a broad range of important perspectives to help understand the West Bend controversy, and apply its lessons beyond the borders of this Wisconsin city:
This issue of Library Trends is a case study in intellectual freedom and the conflicts that so often surround it (Appendix I and Appendix II in this issue provide statements on the matter of intellectual freedom by the American Library Association). The case study is a research tool that can be used to advance a range of social inquiries, allowing investigators to study “how general social forces take shape and produce results in specific settings” (Walton, 2009, p. 122). Case-based research allows investigators to explore one event, institution, or organization from multiple angles. The particular focus encourages a detailed description that can expose multiple themes related to the case, enriching the analysis. West Bend Community Memorial Library (WBCML) was selected for this study because of the complexity of the events and their visibility. The availability of documents and digital exchanges generated by multiple participants related to the “materials challenges” and professional authority support a robust research process. This study investigates the strategies of conservative social agents in their attempts to recast the role of the public library as a negative element in advancing the public good.
But it is also a case study of the resistance to the expansion of the public sphere to include traditionally marginalized populations, such as GLBTQ populations. In her essay in this issue of Library Trends, Loretta Gaffney argues that, in the view of the challengers, “any GLTBQ content in YA literature was propaganda aimed at indoctrinating youth with the view that homosexuality was normal,” which violated their family values. As Michael Zimmer and Adriana McCleer indicate in their essay, the WBCML controversy was one in a string of social disruptions focused on school budgets, social climate, and education. Coalitions of conservative and religious groups aligned with social reactionaries to impact social progress toward open inquiry and inclusivity, anchored in a rhetoric of public stability.
This collection of essays provides context for understanding the challenges by situating them in the community of West Bend, exploring the relationship of the West Bend challengers to their predecessors, analyzing the language employed by the challengers in reference to that employed by the library profession, theorizing the motivations and success of the library’s grassroots supporters, and, finally, revisiting the policies currently in place intended to facilitate dialogue about library services among professionals and community stakeholders.
Contributions include a summary of the West Bend case co-authored by CIPR Director Michael Zimmer and SOIS PhD student Adriana McCleer, as well as insights by former CIPR fellow Loretta Gaffney addressing the issue of YA literature and its relationship to conservative activism; Emily Knox analyzing the various interpretations of “censorship” as a broader concept, and a specific one within the West Bend debates; Mark Peterson exploring the role of the counter-movement within the controversy, and the question of whether a public sphere can actually function in American society; and former CIPR fellow Jean Preer surveying the challenge process within Wisconsin public libraries, and produces a trenchant analysis of “best practices” for addressing intellectual freedom practices within a public library’s community.
Megan Schliesman, a long-time librarian at the Cooperative Children’s Books Center(CCBC) of the School of Education at UW-Madison and manager of its intellectual freedom services for the past eleven years, is the winner of the 2014 Intellectual Freedom Award. The award is given jointly by the Wisconsin Library Association (WLA) and the Wisconsin Educational Media and Technology Association (WEMTA).
Besides managing the CCBC Intellectual Freedom Information Services, Schliesman also manages its online forum, “What IF . . . Questions and Answers on Intellectual Freedom.” She currently serves on the American Library Association/Association for Library Service to Children Board, and is a past member of the ALA/ALSC Intellectual Freedom Committee. She is past chair of the Wisconsin Educational Media and Technology Association’s Intellectual Freedom Special Interest Group, and a past member of the Wisconsin Library Association Intellectual Freedom Roundtable board.
The authors of the nomination letter recommending Schliesman note, “Megan exemplifies the spirit of intellectual freedom through her unflagging support for those defending against censorship and her outreach to inform others about intellectual freedom. Being a librarian at the CCBC is more than a job for Megan, it is a calling that she takes seriously. Wisconsin is fortunate to have Megan as an intellectual freedom advocate and defender of minors’ First Amendment right to read.”
Schliesman will be honored at the WEMTA Awards Luncheon on Monday, March 24, 2014 in Wisconsin Dells, Wisconsin. Recognition will also be given during the WLA Conference in the Fall, 2014.
Since 2010, WLA and WEMTA have collaborated to give the annual intellectual freedom award. This award recognizes the contribution of an individual or group who has actively promoted intellectual freedom in Wisconsin. Funding for the award is generously provided by TeachingBooks.net and the Center for Information Policy Research at the School of Information Studies, University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee
This week marks the 10th anniversary of Facebook, and to help commemorate this milestone CIPR Director Michael Zimmer wrote an essay for The Washington Post that postulates an early framework of Mark Zuckerberg’s theory of privacy, based on a preliminary analysis of the data contained in The Zuckerberg Filesarchive.
Here are the three principles Zimmer discusses:
Information wants to be sharedUpdating the 1960s techno-activist slogan “information wants to be free,” Zuckerberg clearly believes that “information wants to be shared,” and that the world will be a better place if we start sharing more information about ourselves.
While comments from Zuckerberg in 2004 and 2005 point to a desire to simply position Facebook as a “really cool college directory,” as the social network grew, so did his vision. In a 2006 blog post apologizing for the controversial rollout of the News Feed feature, Zuckerberg described his motivation this way: “When I made Facebook two years ago my goal was to help people understand what was going on in their world a little better.” A focus on “helping people become more open, sharing more information” started to emerge in Zuckerberg’s rhetoric by 2008. And by 2010, in an opinion piece in The Washington Post, Zuckerberg argued that sharing more information — your photos, your opinions, your birthday, for example — would make the world a better place: “If people share more, the world will become more open and connected. And a world that’s more open and connected is a better world.”
Privacy must be overcome
In his initial public comments about what was then thefacebook, in a Feb. 9, 2004, article in the Harvard Crimson, when Facebook was only five days old, Zuckerberg bragged about the site’s “pretty intensive privacy options.” He also acknowledged that he hoped the privacy options would help to restore his tarnished reputation following student outrage over his earlier Web site, that hot-or-not-inspired Facemash — uproar that was well-depicted in “The Social Network.”
From the start, Zuckerberg knew that privacy would be a significant factor in Facebook’s success. He regularly mentions the site’s “extensive privacy settings” in blog posts and interviews during the first few years of operation. But in many ways, Zuckerberg appears to view privacy as a barrier to the openness that his first principle demands.
This is most evident in a 2008 interview at the Web 2.0 Summit, when he noted, “four years ago, when Facebook was getting started, most people didn’t want to put up any information about themselves on the Internet. . . . So, we got people through this really big hurdle of wanting to put up their full name, or real picture, mobile phone number.” Later in this interview, Zuckerberg predicted that the amount of information people will share online will double each year, and the best strategy for Facebook is to be “pushing that forward.”
Control is the new privacy
When Zuckerberg does talk seriously about privacy, he almost always cites control. Zuckerberg’s apology for the launch of News Feed notes that his original vision for Facebook included the fact that users must “have control over whom they shared [their] information with.” His response to backlash over a change in the site’s terms of service in 2009 was aptly titled, “On Facebook, People Own and Control Their Information.” That statement doesn’t mention the word “privacy,” but instead declares, “Our philosophy that people own their information and control who they share it with has remained constant.” In an interview with Time magazine in 2010 Zuckerberg declares: “What people want isn’t complete privacy. It isn’t that they want secrecy. It’s that they want control over what they share and what they don’t.”
You can read the full essay here.
CIPR Director, Michael Zimmer, has launched a new project called “The Zuckerberg Files“, a digital archive of all public utterances of Facebook’s founder and CEO, Mark Zuckerberg. It includes transcripts and bibliographic data of all publicly-available content representing the voice and words of Zuckerberg, including blog posts, letters to shareholders, media interviews, public appearances and product presentations, and quotes in other sources.
The Zuckerberg Files is hosted on the University of Wisconsin Milwaukee’s Digital Commons, and consists of two digital collections. The “Transcripts” collection include full-text transcriptions of all the content in the digital archive of Zuckerberg’s public statements. The “Videos” collection represents a subset of the collection with archived copies available video files documenting certain Zuckerberg appearances.
Full details are at the project’s website.
Please join us for this CIPR Research Lunch, featuring visiting Fullbright Fellow, Dr. Alexei Krivolap. A light lunch will be provided.
Potential of the Internet for Social Change in Former Soviet Countries: Case of Belarus
We know a lot, or at least we think that we know a lot, about Arab Spring, the revolution potential of Twitter, and the power of social media. Sometimes we can even speculate that the Internet’s advancement is directly correlated to democracy. But, social media and IT aren’t always a panacea for social change. Can you imagine a European country where its own “Silicon Valley” exists yet sanctions an official list of prohibited websites? A country where the sum total of cell phone users outnumbers landline telephones but requires you to show your passport before admittance to an Internet cafe? The name of this country is Belarus. Belarus went a long way from the former Soviet Republic to a country in transition before going “back to the USSR.” The Internet allows us to stay connected to the world, of course, when access isn’t shut down.
About the Speaker
Dr. Alexei Krivolap European Humanities University Vilnius, Lithuania Visiting Fulbright Scholar, UWM-Center for Information Policy Research Dr. Krivolap has expertise in the sociology of the Internet and cultural studies, and received his PhD from Russian State University for the Humanities in 2011. He is currently a full-time lecturer at the European Humanities University in Vilnius, Lithuania. He has written and contributed to several publications, is a member of various professional societies including the Association of Internet Researchers, and has received numerous fellowships related to his work on new media and internet technology, most recently a Carnegie Research Fellowship at University of Washington in 2008.
Thursday, October 17, 2013
11:30 – 1:00pm
2025 E Newport Ave
Milwaukee, WI 5321
The Center for Information Policy Research (CIPR) is pleased to welcome Dr. Alexei Krivolap as a Fulbright Visiting Scholar for the Fall 2013 semester.
Dr. Krivolap has expertise in the sociology of the Internet and cultural studies, and received his PhD from Russian State University for the Humanities in 2011. He is currently a full-time lecturer at the European Humanities University in Vilnius, Lithuania. He has written and contributed to several publications, is a member of various professional societies including the Association of Internet Researchers, and has received numerous fellowships related to his work on new media and internet technology, most recently a Carnegie Research Fellowship at University of Washington in 2008.
While at CIPR, Dr. Krivolap plans to pursue a research project entitled “Internet: Local Aspects of Global Technology,” making use of the resources on the campus library and archives and collaborate with colleagues to better understand implications of his project outside the sphere of Belarus. He is working towards completing his book entitled “Opening a New Constellation in the Internet’s Galaxy”, about social and cultural differences in national segments of Internet in former USSR countries, and his fellowship at CIPR will allow him to gain feedback from peers outside of Belarus.
To kick off 2013 Banned Books Week, the UW-Milwaukee School of Information Studies and UWM’s Center for Information Policy Research is partnering with the Milwaukee Public Library to host a special lecture by Barbara Jones, Director of the ALA Office of Intellectual Freedom:
CANARIES IN THE COAL MINE:
How Libraries Fight for Free Speech, Freedome from Surveillance, and Democratic Values
September 22, 2013
6:00 – 8:00pm
Milwaukee Public Library
Centennial Hall – Loos Room
733 N Eighth Street Milwaukee, WI 53233
Barbara M. Jones
Director, Office for Intellectual Freedom at the American Library Association
Executive Director, Freedom to Read Foundation
RSVP at: http://sois.uwm.edu/banned2013