Hyperlinking Hyper-Public #2

Talks by Paul Dourish & Latanya Sweeney, blogposts, and more

June 29, 2011

Following last week's post with videos and a visual map from the Hyper-Public symposium, this week, we offer two more talks from the event, and a look at further comments by symposium participants and attendees.

First, Paul Dourish -- professor of informatics at UC Irvine -- introduced the idea that  privacy is something that people "do," rather than something we "have." The session focused on "Delineating Public and Private," which posed the questions: how does the design of physical spaces, virtual experiences, and legal codes form the experience of the public and the private? And how do the designers—from the software coders to legal scholars—see their role in shaping society?

Next, Latanya Sweeney, who is affiliated with the Center for Research on Computation and Society and is a Distinguished Career Professor of Computer Science, Technology and Policy at Carnegie Mellon University, spoke on the "Hardest Challenges to Designing Privacy-Technology Solutions," which addressed the most difficult challenges faced in architecting privacy solutions stem from the interplay of: (1) the decision-making ability of empowered, vulnerable, irrational subjects; (2) the policy-making power of rapid prototyping innovative technology developers; (3) the reactionary disruptive power of irregularly paced policy makers; (4) false beliefs in trade offs and stand offs; (5) financial benefits related to fear, ignorance and opaqueness; and, (6) rigid, static sledge hammer policy structures in legacy environments.

Conference attendee Mike Rook wrote a post after the symposium on "Private and Public Learning Spaces," where he asked:

How does the hyper-public life shape the design of learning spaces?
If you look at the majority of today's college classrooms, you will find two main items: (1) people (i.e. teachers and students); and (2) devices (i.e. laptop computers, tablets, and cellphones, or a combination of the three). To use these devices, students ask network administrators for fast wireless network capabilities. Students want to stay connected. Because of this, hybrid courses are much easier to facilitate. Professors can invite students from anywhere in the world - as long as they have an Internet connection - to join class conversations. One of the great examples of this over the past few years has been David Wiley's open content courses. Privacy is no longer defined by the walls of the classroom. Any student in class can be engaged in a conversation outside of those walls. Or the opposite may be true: the professor may invite outside participants by encouraging a backchannel feed on Twitter during class discussions. The image on the right shows the backchannel feed during the fourth session of the symposium featuring (from left to right) Charles Nesson, Nicholas Negroponte and Martin Nowak. Projected in the image is Negroponte's mock-up for his new tablet computer to be used in his One Laptop per Child non-profit organization.

David Bollier, editor of Onthecommons.org and author of Viral Spiral, described some of the questions raised by Adam Greenfield in his talk on the "Morality of Public Objects":

Unbeknownst to most of us, the steady advance of digital technologies is starting to make buildings, billboards, traffic barriers and other urban infrastructure “declarative” objects -- if not interactive, networked objects.  For example, the Tower of London now has its own Twitter account so that it can now tell potential visitors, “I am opening at [name a time]...” and “I am closing after...” (The Twitter account @towerbridge, an unofficial one started by a fan, was displaced when the museum itself asserted a trademark claim on the name.) 

For more information -- or if you missed it the first time -- see our full redux from the symposium posted last week that includes an initial set of videos, a visual map, and other resources and references, and keep an eye on this site for more updates in the coming weeks.

Last updated

June 29, 2011