Control and Code: Privacy Online

From Technologies of Politics and Control
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Class participation and discussion (etherpad)

Code is law; the architecture of the Internet and the software that runs on it will determine to a large extent how the Net is regulated in a way that goes far deeper than legal means could ever achieve (or at least ever achieve alone). Technological advances have also produced many tempting options for regulation and surveillance that may severely alter the balance of privacy, access to information and sharing of intellectual property. By regulating behavior, technological architectures or codes embed different values and political choices. Yet code is often treated as a technocratic affair, or something best left to private economic actors pursuing their own interests. If code is law, then control of code is power. If important questions of social ordering are at stake, shouldn't the design and development of code be brought within the political process? In this class we delve into the technological alternatives that will shape interactions over the Internet, as well as the implications of each on personal freedom, privacy and combating cyber-crime.


Additional Resources

Topical Links

"The Cleveland Plain Dealer sparked an ethical controversy when a front-page story alleged that one of its legions of anonymous online commenters was a local judge, and that the judge had posted controversial comments about at least three cases over which she presided. Plain Dealer editor Susan Goldberg talks about the expectation of privacy on the internet and why the newspaper decided to publish the judge’s online identity."

Links from Class Discussion

Class Discussion