Tagged with " privacy"
A group of Danish researchers, led by Aarhus University graduate student Emil O. W. Kirkegaard, recently publicly released a dataset of nearly 70,000 users of the online dating site OkCupid, including usernames, age, gender, location, what kind of relationship (or sex) they’re interested in, personality traits, and answers to thousands of profiling questions used by the site.
When asked whether the researchers attempted to anonymize the dataset, Kirkegaard replied bluntly: “No. Data is already public.” This sentiment is repeated in the accompanying draft paper, “The OKCupid dataset: A very large public dataset of dating site users,” posted to the online peer-review forums of Open Differential Psychology, an open-access online journal also run by Kirkegaard:
Some may object to the ethics of gathering and releasing this data. However, all the data found in the dataset are or were already publicly available, so releasing this dataset merely presents it in a more useful form.
To those concerned about privacy, research ethics, and the growing practice of publicly releasing large data sets, this logic of “but the data is already public” is an all-too-familiar refrain used to gloss over thorny ethical concerns,.
In response to this problematic data release, CIPR director Michael Zimmer published an editorial in Wired: “OkCupid Study Reveals the Perils Of Big-Data Science” (Wired, May 14, 2016). He states, in part:
The OkCupid data release reminds us that the ethical, research, and regulatory communities must work together to find consensus and minimize harm. We must address the conceptual muddles present in big data research. We must reframe the inherent ethical dilemmas in these projects. We must expand educational and outreach efforts. And we must continue to develop policy guidance focused on the unique challenges of big data studies. That is the only way can ensure innovative research—like the kind Kirkegaard hopes to pursue—can take place while protecting the rights of people an the ethical integrity of research broadly.
Zimmer also appeared on the WUWM Milwaukee Public Radio show Lake Effect to discuss “Big Data Research Creates Ethical Concerns”, noting that:
So when a researcher like this says, ‘Well this stuff was already public,’ what he kind of really means is like, ‘This stuff was visible to other users who happen to also create a profile,’ and those aren’t the same thing,” says Zimmer. “Psychologically I think it’s important for users when they sign up for this thing to have this assumption, or these set of expectations, that I know this data is kind of public but it’s meant for this community… Doing this kind of research sometimes violates that assumption.
CIPR Director Michael Zimmer has been named a co-chair of the RDA/NISO Privacy Implications of Research Data Sets Working Group, a joint NISO and Research Data Alliance project, focusing on the privacy implications of shared research data. Zimmer will be joining Todd Carpenter (NISO) and Bonnie Tijerina as co-chairs leading this effort.
The working group will explore issues related to scientific research data sets that contains human subject information, as well as related datasets that have the potential to be combined in a way that can expose private information. The goal of the group is to develop a framework for how researchers and repositories should appropriately manage human-subject datasets, to develop a metadata set to describe the privacy-related aspects of research datasets, and to build awareness of the privacy implications of research data sharing. While privacy is related to the ethical, legal and data publishing issues surrounding data management of which privacy is a part, this working group is focused specifically on privacy-related concerns.
The group will focus on world-wide legal frameworks and the impacts these frameworks have on data sharing, especially with human-subject data. After gathering these legal strictures and comparing the differences and similarities, the group will begin crafting a set of principles that will provide guidance to the researcher and repository communities on how to manage these data when they are received. Building on these, the group will craft a set of use cases on how the principles will be applied. After these elements are completed, an effort to advance the principles through promotion and community outreach will be developed and executed.
The group has released a case statement that is open for comment.
The National Information Standards Organization (NISO), a non-profit standards organization that develops, maintains and publishes technical standards related to publishing, bibliographic and library applications, has been awarded a grant from the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation to develop a Consensus Framework to Support Patron Privacy in Digital Library and Information Systems. The grant will support a series of community discussions on how libraries, publishers, and information systems providers can build better privacy protection into their operations. The grant will also support creation of a draft framework to support patron privacy and subsequent publicity of the draft prior to its advancement for approval as a NISO Recommended Practice.
In support of the project, NISO has convened a steering committee of practitioners, consultants, and advocates dedicated to supporting patron privacy. CIPR director Michael Zimmer has accepted an invitation to join the steering committee, and will contribute to project’s three phases.
The first will be a pre-meeting discussion phase, which will consist of four virtual forums to discuss privacy of internal library systems, privacy of publisher systems, privacy of provider systems, and legal aspects influencing data sharing and policies. Each of the discussion sessions will be a three-hour web-based session designed to lay the groundwork for a productive in-person meeting at the conclusion of the American Library Association meeting in San Francisco, CA in June 2015. Following the in-person meeting, a Framework document will be completed detailing the privacy principles and recommendations agreed to by the participants, and then circulated for public comment and finalization.
Additional information is available at the NISO website.
The UW-Milwaukee Center for Information Policy Research is excited to welcome Prof. Neil Richards for a talk about his new book Intellectual Privacy in celebration of Choose Privacy Week, the annual initiative of the American Library Association that invites the public into a national conversation about privacy rights in a digital age.
Choose Privacy Week 2015 with Prof. Neil Richards
Monday, May 4, 2015
Alumni Fireside Lounge
UW-Milwaukee Student Union
2200 East Kenwood Boulevard, Milwaukee WI 53211
About Intellectual Privacy:
Most people believe that the right to privacy is inherently at odds with the right to free speech. Courts all over the world have struggled with how to reconcile the problems of media gossip with our commitment to free and open public debate for over a century. The rise of the Internet has made this problem more urgent. We live in an age of corporate and government surveillance of our lives. And our free speech culture has created an anything-goes environment on the web, where offensive and hurtful speech about others is rife. (More…)
Neil Richards is an internationally-recognized expert in privacy law, information law, and freedom of expression. He is a professor of law at Washington University School of Law, a member of the Advisory Board of the Future of Privacy Forum, and a consultant and expert in privacy cases. He graduated in 1997 from the University of Virginia School of Law, and served as a law clerk to Chief Justice William H. Rehnquist. His first book, Intellectual Privacy, was published by Oxford University Press in 2015.
The Center for Information Policy has been a proud supporter of Choose Privacy Week since its inception in 2010. Past events have included a panel discussion on “Emerging Privacy and Ethical Challenges for Libraries in the 2.0 Era” (2010), participation in an ALA webinar on “Youth Privacy” (2011), the screening of the documentary “Big Brother, Big Business: The Data-Mining and Surveillance Industries” (2012), and hosting a talk by Dr. Kelly Gates on “The Computational Work of Policing” (2013).
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.
CIPR Director, Michael Zimmer, has been invited to join a gathering of national library, education, technology, legal and policy experts for a national symposium hosted by the American Library Association and Google considering the impact of the Children’s Internet Protection Act (CIPA) on access to electronic information July 29 and 30. Librarians & researchers nationwide can join the virtual conversation with two Google Hangouts on July 30.
The first Hangout will start at 11 a.m. EDT and focus on an “Introduction and Overview of CIPA 10 Years Later.” The second one will share “Symposium Themes and Conclusions” starting at 12:15 p.m. EDT. Participants will join a wide range of experts as they share insights looking at legal, ethical, and political implications of how the CIPA requirements have been implemented in the past 10 years. Did CIPA meet its intended goals, and have there been unintended consequences?
“Revisiting the Children’s Internet Protection Act: 10 Years Later” is part of ALA’s Office for Information Technology Policy (OITP) and Office for Intellectual Freedom’s (OIF) larger project on CIPA and access to information, made possible through support of Google, Inc. A white paper will be released this fall.
Here’s how to join the conversation:
- You can watch the live stream directly on YouTube on the ALA Washington Office channel. ALA will tweet the URL using #CIPA_ALA13 at 10:45am EST, right before the Hangout goes live.
- You can also tweet @oitp using our hash tag #CIPA_ALA13. We’ll be watching the Twitter feed and passing these comments to the speakers, as well.
Participants are encouraged to actively share their experiences, reflections and questions via tweets and online comment boards. ALA will use the back-channel conversation to inform our ongoing work on libraries and the impacts of filtering on access to information.
The Hangouts also will be archived on the ALA Washington Office YouTube channel after the event.
Join the Center for Information Policy Research, the Social Studies of Information Research Group, and the UWM Libraries for a special lecture by Dr. Kelly Gates (Communication, UC-San Diego) in celebration of Choose Privacy Week, an annual initiative of the American Library Association that invites the public into a national conversation about privacy rights in a digital age.
THE COMPUTATIONAL WORK OF POLICING: Surveillance Video & the Forensic Sensibility
Dr. Kelly Gates
Department of Communication
Science Studies Program
University of California, San Diego
As a result of the widespread diffusion of CCTV security systems, recorded surveillance video has become a prolific source of evidence in criminal investigations. In this talk, Kelly Gates examines the evidentiary uses of recorded surveillance video, arguing that the status of video as evidence is the result of an intentional process of production, one that involves repurposing technologies and techniques borrowed from the domain of creative media production. She examines the effort to establish the scientific and legal credibility of forensic video analysis, showing how the scientific and legal status of forensic video analysis depends fundamentally on the professionalization of its practitioners.
Wednesday, May 1, 2013
2:00 – 4:00pm
4th Floor Conference Center
2311 E Hartford Ave Milwaukee, WI 53211
Please Register online: http://sois.uwm.edu/ZZX
CIPR Director Michael Zimmer is contributing to an American Library Association (ALA) webinar on generating issues and ideas for programming during the upcoming Choose Privacy Week.
The free, hour-long online webinar will take place on from 1 p.m. – 2 p.m. Central Time on Tuesday, April 9 and will feature four speakers discussing ideas and tools for privacy-related programming and outreach, with an emphasis on sample programs and resources that have proved successful in school, academic and public library environments:
Michael Zimmer, PhD, will discuss how to use short documentaries on privacy and surveillance to increase awareness among patrons and spark conversations on controversial technologies and practices.
Zimmer is an assistant professor in the School of Information Studies and director of the Center for Information Policy Research at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee.
Carolyn Caywood will discuss how librarians can raise awareness of developments that impact privacy in their community by offering civic engagement programs about privacy.
Caywood worked as a youth services librarian and branch manager for Virginia Beach, Va. before retiring in 2010. She is currently a fellow of the Hampton Roads Center for Civic Engagement and serves on the Advisory Committee of the American Library Association’s Center for Civic Life.
Marc Gartler will discuss how Madison Public Library (Wis.) planned and implemented a successful week-long observance for Choose Privacy Week that emphasized preventing identity theft and making informed privacy choices.
Gartler joined the management team at Madison Public Library in 2010 following four years as library director at Harrington College of Design. He previously worked on digital library projects at the University of Chicago, the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign and the Art Institute of Chicago.
Dr. Deborah Peel will discuss one of privacy’s “hot topics” – patient privacy rights. She will discuss the fight to keep health information private and provide resources for planning programs about protecting our health information both inside and outside of the health care system.
Peel leads Patient Privacy Rights and is the voice of the bipartisan Coalition for Patient Privacy, speaking for 10.3 million Americans who expect to control their sensitive health data in electronic systems.
Register for this free webinar via this link to the registration page. The webinar will be recorded and available in the archives. For questions about registration or using the webinar platform, contact Angela Maycock email@example.com.
Choose Privacy Week 2013 takes place May 1-7 and asks the critical question, “Who’s Tracking You?” When someone is always watching your every move both online and off, you should have the right to know who’s collecting your information and choose how your private data is used.
In celebration of Choose Privacy Week, the American Library Association‘s Office for Intellectual Freedomhas released preliminary findings from a new survey on “Librarian Attitudes and Behaviors Regarding Informational Privacy” that Michael Zimmer, Director of the Center for Information Policy Research, conduced on their behalf with generous support from the Open Society Foundation. The press release with preliminary results is copied below; the full results will be published later this year.
New survey confirms librarians’ commitment to protecting privacy rights
For Immediate Release
Tue, 05/01/2012 – 15:55
Contact: Jennifer Petersen
Office for Intellectual Freedom (OIF)
CHICAGO – In conjunction with Choose Privacy Week, the American Library Association’s (ALA) Office for Intellectual Freedom (OIF) released preliminary findings from a new survey measuring librarians’ views on privacy rights and protecting library users’ privacy.
The survey, which builds on an earlier 2008 survey assessing librarians’ attitudes about privacy, provides important data that will help ALA evaluate the state of privacy in the United States and libraries’ role in protecting library users’ privacy. The data will help guide ongoing planning for Choose Privacy Week and similar initiatives aimed at engaging librarians in public education and advocacy to advance privacy rights.
Some of the highlights from the 2012 survey include:
- Librarians remain concerned about privacy and individuals’ desire to control access and use of personal information. Ninety-five percent agree or strongly agree that individuals should be able to control who sees their personal information, and more than 95 percent of respondents feel government agencies and businesses shouldn’t share personal information with third parties without authorization and should only be used for a specific purpose.
- Librarians affirmed their commitment to the profession’s long-standing ethic of protecting library users’ privacy. Nearly 100 percent of respondents agreed that “Libraries should never share personal information, circulation records or Internet use records with third parties unless it has been authorized by the individual or by a court of law,” and 76 percent feel libraries are doing all they can to prevent unauthorized access to individual’s personal information and circulation records. Overall, nearly 80 percent feel libraries should play a role in educating the general public about privacy issues.
- When compared to the 2008 survey, the results showed that the responses given by the 2012 respondents generally mirrored those of the 2008 respondents, with data showing a slight decline in the level of concern over privacy. For example, in both surveys, the vast majority (95 percent in 2008, 90 percent in 2012) of respondents expressed concern that “companies are collecting too much personal information about me and other individuals.” However those who “strongly” agreed dropped from 70 percent in 2008 to only 54 percent in 2012.
The 2012 survey also revealed some limitations in libraries’ handling of privacy issues. While nearly 80 percent of the responding librarians said libraries should play a role in educating the general public about privacy, only 13 percent said their library had hosted a privacy information session, lecture, seminar or other event addressing privacy and surveillance. Similarly, while 100 percent agree that libraries should not release library records without a court order, only 51 percent indicate that their libraries offer training on handling requests for user records and only 57 percent indicate that their libraries effectively communicate the library’s privacy policies to their patrons.
The 2012 study is funded by a generous grant from the Open Society Foundations and is managed by Dr. Michael Zimmer, an assistant professor at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee’s School of Information Studies, and co-director of its Center for Information Policy Research.
The survey is part of ALA’s Choose Privacy Week and “Privacy for All” initiative, which conducted with the generous support of the Open Society Foundations. Its website, www.privacyrevolution.org, provides access to privacy-related news, information and programming resources.
The American Library Association’s (ALA) Office for Intellectual Freedom established Choose Privacy Week in 2010 to help libraries work with their communities in navigating these complicated but vital issues. It is a national public awareness campaign that aims to educate the public about their privacy rights and to deepen public awareness about the serious issue of government surveillance. The theme for Choose Privacy Week 2012 is “Freedom from Surveillance.”
For more information on Choose Privacy Week, visit www.privacyrevolution.org or contact Jennifer Petersen, ALA PR coordinator at (312) 280-5043, firstname.lastname@example.org.