Networked privacy

There are some things in this piece by danah boyd entitled ‘Networked privacy’ that seem very important. I think I would summarise this as saying that the ideas that we use for privacy are routed in the individual and that these are not (or at least will not in the future) relevant for issues of privacy in a networked world.

Any model of privacy that focuses on the control of information will fail. Even achieving true control is nearly impossible because control presumes many things that are often untenable. Control assumes that people have agency, or the power to assert control within  a particular  situation

From this it seems almost like we should give up trying to keep our privacy settings up to date.

The future is only going to be more networked, more interwoven, more of a gnarly hairball that’s impossible to untangle without harsh cleaving. Expecting that people can assert individual control when their lives are so interconnected is farcical.

This part I follow. She goes on to add:

Moreover, it reinforces the power of those who already have enough status and privilege to meaningfully assert control over their own networks.

I am going to need to think about what this means to me and why it is the case. I think this is not just talking about facebook and their control, but the people in our lives who serve as nodes in the networks and actively manage their online communities. In this latter case I wonder if the implication is that we should all strive to be these actors, but this can’t make sense – we can’t all be the node.

In order to address networked privacy, we need to let go of our cultural fetishization with the individual as the unit of analysis.

I wonder if this means that I should not be thinking of this in terms of me?

A lot to think about.

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