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kottke.org posts about danah boyd

Privacy at the margins

posted by Chrysanthe Tenentes   Mar 07, 2018

privacy.jpg

Privacy and privilege go hand in hand. This collection of scholarly articles in The International Journal of Communication edited by Dr. Alice Marwick and danah boyd takes us to Appalachia, India, Azerbaijan, and among Aboriginal communities. The nine articles are a deep dive into surveillance, coercion, and consent among those typically marginalized.

For many people, privacy is not simply the ability to restrict access to information, but the ability to strategically control a social situation by influencing what information is available to others, how this information is interpreted, and how it will spread. Needless to say, networked technology complicates these dynamics, to the point where most people find themselves constantly negotiating between disclosure, concealment, and connection.

The stark reality is that achieving privacy is especially difficult for those who are marginalized in other areas of life. Parents argue that they have the right to surveil their children “for safety reasons.” Activists who challenge repressive regimes are regularly monitored by state actors. And poor people find themselves forced to provide information in return for basic services. Meanwhile, privacy is increasingly important as data-hungry algorithmic systems are introduced into every part of society, gobbling up data about people and their practices to feed decision-making systems in sectors as varied as criminal justice, advertising, transportation, and news delivery. The privilege to “opt out” of these data-oriented systems is increasingly unattainable.

Parenthood is indescribable

posted by Jason Kottke   Jul 08, 2015

Mario Koran writes about how tough it can be to be a parent (particularly a single parent) and the impossibility of describing parenthood to someone without kids. This all rings true to me, especially this bit:

I also learned that being a dad means living in constant fear. Due to dumb, random chance, or a second’s negligence, my entire world could implode at any moment. She could be electrocuted, shot, run-over, kidnapped or poisoned. She could get leukemia. It’s all there, just waiting to happen. Each week, the fear seems to grow.

During the day, I keep these emotions contained in wire mesh. I can see the feelings. I know they’re there, behind the wire. But I ignore them. I focus on work. At night, that wire mesh falls away. It’s just my wife and Lucia and me, singing Twinkle Twinkle or ABCs — or Twinkle Twinkle to the tune of ABCs. Some nights, after we tick off the lights and everything’s quiet, I feel so much I suddenly realize I’m crying.

Elsewhere, danah boyd on “the irrational cloud of fear”. Even Steve Jobs, not the best parent in the world, said that having kids is like having “your heart running around outside your body”. Not every parent feels this way, but if you are prone to anxiety, that pretty much covers it.