Thursday, October 8, 2015

Policy Recommendations: Seminar 4

Policy Recommendations from DATA-PSST Seminar 4
Visible Mediations of Transparency: Changing Norms & Practices
10 Sep 2015
Kings College, Univ. of London
Seminar Leader: Dr Clare Birchall

The aim of this Seminar  was to consider how messages about transparency are mediated, and what public attitudes are towards transparency practices and issues. Recommendations for action, following the day's discussion, are below:

o   As people are demonstrably concerned about privacy, we need to enable resistance to dominant surveillant players’ ethical positions (of forced transparency or radical transparency). The public needs the right, and ability, not to be part of the technological assemblage.
o   The public needs more digital and data literacy. As an ethical starting point, governments should more fully share with the public what their capacities to surveil are. The public needs to understand the surveillant black boxes that pervade everyday life, and what it gives up if it withholds data from commercial surveillers. We need a public debate involving mainstream media on whether we are able to understand these abstract surveillant processes.
o   We need more playful responses to surveillance than the standard one so far (which has been encryption). For instance, wearing ten different masks; norm-core fashion to disappear into a big data crowd; and crypto-parties. Artists can help through ‘artivism’. We should organise a DATA-PSST! art exhibition (or street arts or musical concerts) to raise awareness, initiate debate and re-articulate concepts, e.g. secrecy beyond securitisation.
o   Resources need to be found for grassroots activist groups or ‘artivist’ groups, encouraging bottom-up practices and participatory practice. We also need to increase the visibility of artivism in mainstream media.
o   Understanding how to encrypt email is just the start. We also need to understand cooperative self-governance and how to manage the digital commons, bearing in mind that the internet was built to be open rather than secure.
o   As well as educating the public, those who care about preserving privacy should channel their energy into different forms of oversight and resistance – such as at regulatory and commercial levels. This presents lots of opportunities for Privacy Enhancing Technology start-ups. Pro-privacy businesses, activists and politicians need to find out what the public cares about and work backwards from there.
o   As technologies open up participatory research to produce citizen science, can we also have citizen social science or citizen cultural studies? This Invisible College could teach us much about public attitudes to mutual forms of watching (‘veillance’), and educate many about possible pathways of resistance, but also what is given up if a resistive stance is taken.
o   Researchers need to engage in hackathons and inter-disciplinary research to know what questions to ask.

 If you have any more recommendations or thoughts, please join the debate - comments are enabled below.

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