Eerste bouwfoto’s van het mobiel

De opbouw

De achterkant

De opbouw van de oplegger is nu in aanbouw. Als dit geraamte klaar is kunnen de grote armen op de oplegger gelast worden waarna de rest van de opbouw geplaats kan worden

 

Plutonian Striptease XI: Mez Breeze

Artlab,naked on pluto annet dekker @ 11:43 am

Plutonian Striptease XI: Mez Breeze

astounding stories of super science: the pirate planet
Plutonian Striptease is a series of interviews with experts, owners, users, fans and haters of social media, to map the different views on this topic, outside the existing discussions surrounding privacy.

Mez Breeze creates code poetry and is a Futurist. She explores environments that involve online socializations or encounters. Such encounters involves the modification of online gaming environments such as World of Warcraft, EVE Online, and Second Life. Some other online encounters involve social networking and alternate gaming software such as Facebook, Passively Multimedia Online Game (PMOG), and Twitter. The texts or jargon produced during these encounters are what drove Mez to create her type of net poetry. She has won several awards including the “JavaArtist of the Year 2001″, the Newcastle Digital Poetry Prize and an Honorary Mention in the read_me 1.2 Software Art Award.

Social networks are often in the news, why do you think this is?
straight away i find myself side-tilt>head-turn-questioning the phrase “in the news”: r u reffing the old skool>1-way monothreaded>tradition “broadcast” sense of “news”? if yes, then soc[ial]_net[work]s r often reffed>dissected there via a combination of novelty factoids [including the obligatory derogatory slant on any comm platform that threatens the longevity of the older>"traditional" news dissemination strains] + intrigue as 2 how they will impact the future of communication patterns generally. + let’s not 4get the [jump on the trundling-in2-the-relevancy-distance]bandwagon factor.

In what way do they differ from older forms of communication on the Internet?
soc_nets offer engagement with[in] a constant>immediacy state: variables include application-skewed + momentarily-dependent S[tream]o[f]C[onsciousness]-like dispersal with recursively [in relation to standard_concentration lvls] disruptive twists. as i’ve asserted previously [2007]: “Web 2.0 is based on a collusive tapestry of adjoining social nodes. Social Networks such as MySpace, Facebook, Flickr, Orkut, Liveleak, YouTube, Twitter and Pownce aren’t prefaced on pre-set connotative connections maintained through historicized emotional depth or satisfied by biological drives. Friends aren’t friends as we have come to know them: there is no establishment of shared geophysical experiences, no cathartic or chronologically defined friendship markers evident. What’s important is [inter]action and the quantity of it – the residual volume of contact and the fact of shared connection minus a meatbody context. Identity is constructed in these friendship pathways via the idea of notations; of naming labels, of icon attribution, and of clustered info-snippets streamlined through an interface designed for momentary persona snapshots.”

Who is ultimately responsible for what happens to the data you upload to social networks?
that’s a doozy of a qs. intuitively i’m drawn 2 type “the user”, as it seems obvious users r the the ultimate end_node in a responsibility chain that stretches thru various skeins of corporatist red tapesville. wot’s problematic with this “users-should-b-exclusively-responsible-4-wot happens 2-their-data-post-uploading” is the the way T[erms] & C[ondition]s alter rapidly>inconsistently + often without substantial notification>transparency: u may own the data u upload 2 a particular platform>app 1 day + don’t the next.

Do you read Terms of Use or EULA’s and keep up to date about changes applied to them?
i attempt 2 + am a complete scanhead when it comes 2 absorbing specific EULA changes on a macro_lvl. 4eg, take W[orld]o[f]W[arcraft]’s constantly changing EULA during each patch/expansion: i’ll absorb notifications regarding changes via various trusted sources [forums>individuals>groups] + if it’s been flagged as dangerous>gutted beyond recognition, i’ll respond accordingly.

Do you think you’ve got a realistic idea about the quantity of information that is out there about you?
“realistic?” as in actual? i have a fairly comprehensive sense of the long_tailed leanings of my projected>creative>fragmented identity sets [+ that's mostly due 2 fine_honed crafting of my public(ally accessible digital) profile(s) since the mid 90s]. i also have systems in place that allow a type of monitoring via “digital shearing” [think digital scraping but of an individualistic>deliberately projected identity mold]. i don’t however, have any “real” sense of just how much comprehensive data there is “out there” [think: darknets/deepwebbing>"black_app"ed (aggre)gated datasets] in regards 2 my geophysical details>existence [as i suspect most don't].

How do you value your private information now? Do you think anything can happen that will make you value it differently in the future?
by private i’m inferring you’re reffing any information i haven’t been keen 2 make explicitly public? if so, then i *do* value certain limits on variables i’m keen 2 keep isolated from general public consumption + i do actively regulate them [as much as i am able]. anything’s possible in relation 2 revaluing my info’s_worth according 2 fluctuating definitions of personal>private>public: especially as i actively encourage traditional_personality> ID_divide blurriness [collapsing professional>hierarchical distinctions such as i practice in my @netwurker Twitter stream].

How do you feel about trading your personal information for online services?
depends entirely on the lvl of data mining>divulgence involved: i’m happy 2 hand ova base personality facts>aspects that [in a holistic sense] make data_scrapers info_salivate + who then create pointless baselines via which 2 pitch useless consumer crap my way [i've cultivated fairly resistent ad_blindess + have various mechanism that block content of that nature]. in terms of personal information: i think there’s enormous change in_the_futuroidal_wings regarding wot’s ultimately considered personal + wot’s not [cf the latest furor over leaky Facebook info].

What do you think the information gathered is used for?
anything from: Your Facebook ‘friend’ may be a federal agent +
Police serve intervention order through Facebook 2 Twitter mood predicts the stock market?

Have you ever been in a situation where sharing information online made you uncomfortable? If so, can you describe the situation?
signing up 2 as yet verified early-adopter-type services [+ the associated info_disclosure required] is always a tad hairy: my way of dealing with this is 2 make sure my gatekeeper account/details act as a [marginally] suitable screen. other situs include how Google implemented Buzz [ie that followers could b algorithmically/social-graphed-derived + automagically added without permission] + the Streetview debacle/associated privacy cockups. also, anything Apple does/produces [DRM any1? - such a closed-2-the-hilt ethically unsound business mentality + treating users/developers as unitary cash cows].

What is the worst case scenario, and what impact would that have on an individual?
Forced ARTificial Scarcity as opposed 2 Social Tesseracting.

Nowadays, most of the “reading” of what is written online is done by machines. Does this impact your idea of what is anonymity and privacy?
wot impacts>[in]forms my ideas on anonymity>privacy is more centred on insidious corporate+[in tandem]government influence + rapid>rampant censorship/dictatorial intervention?

Can a game raise issues such as online privacy? And if so, what would you like to see in such a game?
given the geolocative gamification trend [think: Foursquare or Gowalla], i’d say it can indeed effect privacy issues. + there r such games [@ least 4 kids] such as The First Adventure of the Three Cyberpigs.

Comments: Naked on Pluto

Plutonian Striptease X: Constant

Artlab,naked on pluto annet dekker @ 5:10 pm

Plutonian Striptease X: Constant

astounding stories of super science: spawn of the stars
Plutonian Striptease is a series of interviews with experts, owners, users, fans and haters of social media, to map the different views on this topic, outside the existing discussions surrounding privacy.

Constant is a non-profit association, an interdisciplinary arts-lab based and active in Brussels since 1997. Constant works in-between media and art and is interested in the culture and ethics of the World Wide Web. The artistic practice of Constant is inspired by the way that technological infrastructures, data-exchange and software determine our daily life. Free software, copyright alternatives and (cyber)feminism are important threads running through the activities of Constant. Constant organizes workshops, print-parties, walks and ‘Verbindingen/Jonctions’-meetings on a regular basis for a public that’s into experiments, discussions and all kinds of exchanges.

Michel Cleempoel, graduated at the national superior art school of la Cambre – Brussels. Author of numerous digital art works and exhibitions, in collaboration with Nicolas Malevé. http://www.deshabillez-vous.be

Nicolas Malevé, a multimedia artist since 1998, has been an active member of the association Constant. As such, he has taken part in organizing various activities to do with alternatives to copyrights, such as Copy.cult & The Original Si(g)n, held in 2000. He has been developing multimedia projects and web applications for cultural organisations. His research work is currently focused on information structures, metadata and the semantic web and the means to visually represent them.

Social networks are often in the news, why do you think this is?
Essentially because of their scale. Facebook reports having more than 500 million active users.[1] This, of course, inspires all kinds of commercial dreams. Social networks barely brought something new to the web. For personal pages, Friendster predates largely Facebook and the other social networks. And the functionalities they offer barely innovate. It is their momentum though since a large portion of the online population happily subscribes and uses these services. In our view, social networks are an internet in miniature, what the bourgeois garden is to nature: a domestic version, with fences, controllable, reassuring, narrow-minded. They have their own version of email, chat, links, search, page but everything in redux. As they are powered by social pressure, they are an endless source of anecdotes fueling the media.

It is important to remark that we hear a lot about proprietary social networks and too rarely about free social networks in the mainstream media. They exist though and are used by governments, businesses or academic institutions: ie, elgg[2], a social network releasing its code under the GPL powers various important platforms like Oxfam, Federal Canadian Government, Johns Hopkins University or Université Lille 1.

In what way do they differ from older forms of communication on the Internet?
Internet offers the possibility of a more decentralized media ecology. The Peer-to-Peer exchange networks are a wonderful example of this. Proprietary social media (although sometimes built with free software never release their source code) are based on a centralized architecture. A company owns the server where the users connect and therefore can monitor their behaviour easily. It is barely new though. Centralized and decentralized technologies have always been co-present on the network.Think about the intial MSN Classic, the first attempt of Microsoft to capture its users in a mini-internet, not so far from Facebook.

MSN was originally conceived as a dial-up online content provider like America Online, supplying proprietary content through an artificial folder-like interface integrated into Windows 95’s Windows Explorer file management program. Categories on MSN appeared like folders in the file system Then officially known as ‘The Microsoft Network,’ the service launched along with Windows 95 on August 24, 1995. MSN was included with Windows 95 installations and promoted through Windows and other Microsoft software released at the time. Product support and discussion was offered through the MSN service, as well as information such as news and weather, basic e-mail capabilities, chat rooms, and message boards similar to newsgroups (from Wikipedia).[3]

At the time, users much prefered the possibilities of the internet. It seems today that an important part of them embrace a return to MSN-like technologies.

Who is ultimately responsible for what happens to the data you upload to social networks?
You have to distinguish two things: the data you upload consciously and the traces that you leave. The first ones are covered by the way you handle copyright, the second ones are the property of the platform.

For the uploaded data, the Flickr terms of use (now Yahoo’s) used to state “What’s yours is yours”. But most of the time, this is nuanced by a series of conditions that change the meaning of the statement: for instance, you grant the company (and its affiliates) the right to use your data for advertising its services. For the traces, your privacy rights are the only way to regain control, but it is extremely difficult since you are barely aware of what kind of data is collected. The matter is further complicated by the fact that, when signing up, you grant the company the right to host your data in other countries, therefore possibly under different legislations (usually more favorable to them).

Now if we consider the aspect of responsibility for what is being said or shown, the platform denies all responsibility.

Do you read Terms of Use or EULA’s and keep up to date about changes applied to them?
As we read them, we don’t subscribe to proprietary social networks. We are huge fans of the Goodiff project, a service for automated tracking of semantic changes in web service policies created by Alexandre Dulaunoy and Michael Noll. They clearly prove the point that these terms of services are constantly re-written, one tiny modification after the other.[4]

Do you think you’ve got a realistic idea about the quantity of information that is out there about you?
As we don’t subscribe, we have no idea.

How do you value your private information now ? Do you think anything can happen that will make you value it differently in the future?
We usually lack scenarios to imagine what can be done with electronic information. Apparently innocent data can be used to produce critical knowledge. A good example is France Telecom offering to the French trade-unions active in its company to use a shared intranet. On the intranet’s homepage, you can see the number of connections: 5000 connections per month for 120 000 workers. An easy way to monitor in real-time the power of the trade-union in the company. Data which is initially gathered to monitor the technical status of the platform ends up being a statement about the penetration (or lack thereof) of the unions in the company.[5]

Additionally, if you leave information in a system, this information can be correlated with other sources of information to produce new knowledge about you. Even if this information is apparently innocent at first. The problem with proprietary social networks is that they tend to centralize so much about your internet life that they can correlate a lot of information about who you connect to, what are your interests, at what time you do what or when. This information is available to third-parties (advertisers) and constitutes valuable consumer profiles to them. Or they can be a means to check other information: an insurance company comparing profile information with a health insurance request, a tax officer comparing your spending habits in your declaration form and your social network profile, etc. In this respect, private data is the oil of the new century. And this only covers what we can expect under relatively democratic regimes. The web 2.0 companies do not resist very much the pressures of the Chinese government to give access to user data. And we do not need to go so far anyways, you only need a slightly authoritarian state to see that information easily finds it’s way to the police.[6]

How do you feel about trading your personal information for online services?
We chose our alliances. If we need online services, we prefer to pay a small amount of money to trustworthy organisations committed to free software and serious about privacy rather than use the free online services. We prefer supporting Domaine Public or all2all in Belgium rather than using a free GMail account.

However alternatives are not always easy or available. When there is no trustworthy alternative, we try to use these online services as cautiously and as less as possible.

What do you think the information gathered is used for?
Commercial use through customer behaviour analysis, mainly. We are not only watching the banner, the banner is also gathering information from what one does, what one writes and to whom, from status to age and sex preferences. In this respect, it is quite similar to Google adds following you from page to page, site to site.

Have you ever been in a situation where sharing information online made you uncomfortable? If so, can you describe the situation?
At the moment, we know that ex-students made a club about Michel in Facebook. The club is closed to the public and it is a student’s joke. In itself it is not a big deal, but the fact that it is closed doesn’t allow to respond and nevertheless the information about its existence has leaked out of the social network. Used in a more delicate situation, this combination of closed group and leaks can be explosive. This illustrates the point that the use of privacy-preserving technologies for one person is pointless if others happily enjoy disseminating information about him/her in environments he/she can’t access.

By collecting information on other users, tagging them on pictures, sending them email invitations, social networks users are doing the profiling for the platform they contribute to.

What is the worst case scenario, and what impact would that have on an individual?
The worst case scenario is usually described in terms of the ‘personal little secret’ being revealed. Husband cheating on wife, homosexuality revealed, etc. Most of these stories one can find in the newspapers have an amibiguous moral tone: on the one hand the platform is blamed for the breach of privacy, on the other hand, more subtly, the victims are stygmatized as they had indeed something to hide. Names are published and photos (often coming from the social network) are printed. The consequences can be serious, they include cases of suicide. But as painful as it is, we think this part of the problem is relatively easy to understand.

There are, in our opinion, other damaging effects of the social networks that can prove virulent on the longer term. One is the epistemic violence used against a core element constituting the social: friendship. Everyone knows a Facebook friend is not a friend as in “real life”, that a “friend” on the platform has a different meaning, it means two nodes connected in a graph. But the more it goes, this cognitive failure that doesn’t capture the complexity of social binding and intimacies gets internalized by the users. They don’t dare to exclude or refuse requests, they feel obligations, and more importantly they internalize the idea that friendship is an instrument to quantify another fraudulous concept: reputation. On a daily basis, they perform a successful cognitive failure as they know the terms are wrong but they nevertheless act according to their logic.

The other damaging effect is the increasing loss of collective organisational skills related to the digital infrastructure. Every time a group chooses a proprietary social network to get organized, it looses the occasion of finding ways to create its digital habitat or its communication platform, its working environment. When Indymedia users go to MySpace, independant video-makers to YouTube, writers and philosophers to Facebook, we all loose a beautiful opportunity to reinvent our relationship to music, film or literature, critical thinking and meditation.

Nowadays, most of the “reading” of what is written online is done by machines. Does this impact your idea of what is anonymity and privacy?
First about privacy.
Privacy in itself is a complex notion. For instance, to make one’s coming out is a very crucial step for a homosexual. It is to take the decision of moving an affirmation about one’s sexuality from the private to the public sphere. Taking care of privacy in this respect doesn’t mean to burry one’s sexual preference in the closet, but to give the freedom to keep it private or to take a public stand. Additionally the division between the private sphere and the public one is extremely political. A partner molested in a couple may need that we don’t consider the home private and intervene. Privacy depends on contexts and strategies. In the digital world, it is not privacy in itself the problem but why some humans put machines to work so hard on virtual relationships. Why such an urge to diminish the importance of privacy? Why now? Why do we have now, immediately, to leave it in the name of progress? A better world, etc.[7]. We agree that privacy must not be reified and is a dynamic concept. But the reason why we must accept immediately its devaluation is rather unclear. And is decided unilateraly by the tech-industry moguls. This is what triggers our curiousity and suspicion. Privacy is an obstacle in the deployment of the social graph. The epistemic holdup on sociality cannot happen if relationships can escape the graph. But don’t think the same industry is not interested in privacy. It is very aware that it can be monetized and sold back through the privacy business. As they want to impose their own version of networked sociality, they want to impose their own version of privacy. What we are suposed to do is to let go of privacy and buy it back through privacy enabling/preserving technologies or services.

Now on the machines.
A recently published study[8] on the people who monitor the images of surveillance cameras reveals that 15% of the time is spent in pure voyeurism, and a good part of the remaining time is spent to track people and movements on the base of racial and social bias. One could think a machine could be more neutral, but the machines are programmed by humans, so the problem is simply displaced. An interesting example has showed up recently[9]. Yasir Afifi, who lives in Silicon Valley, discovered a GPS tracking device on his car. Uncertain wether this was a tracking device or a bomb, he posts the pictures on the internet and, reassured it was a GPS device, he intends to sell it. Soon after, the doorbell rings with FBI agents asking to have the device back. When they interrogate him, they show him a printout of a blogpost made by a friend of him. The blogpost indeed speaks about bombs in a mall, but is a general comment about security and terrorism. Typically the FBI software that monitors popular sites on the internet must have a predilection for certain keywords (bombs, mall) and their presence is likely to trigger a chain of events. But what is interesting is that not only the person who wrote the post is under surveillance but also the ones attached to him through the social graph, his ‘friend’. And that this surveillance itself implies more data tracking (GPS data) correlated to places that themselves have their own classification (airport, mall, etc).

Can a game raise issues such as online privacy? And if so, what would you like to see in such a game?
Yes, absolutely. We developped through different workshops a game called Yoogle!.[10] Yoogle! is an online game allowing users to play with the parameters of the web 2.0 and to exchange roles between the different actors of its economy. It presents itself as a game of the Goose with a track of 63 consecutively numbered spaces. The players navigate through stories, traps, challenges and riddles about the web 2.0. They can choose to play the game as a simple user, a technical administrator, a company or a State. The game at the moment is only in French, it connects to the database of information collected in the project e-traces[11] It received a fair amount of press in Belgium and France, and we use it during workshops and meetings
to give a concrete example of the functioning of web 2.0 and the issues at stake. We are really curious and interested in the development of games tackling the problems embedded in social networks, but we have a request: please, don’t force us to subscribe to facebook to play it :-)

[1] http://www.facebook.com/press/info.php?statistics
[2] http://elgg.com/powered.php
[3] http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Microsoft_Network#MSN_Classic
[4] http://www.goodiff.org/
[5] http://etraces.constantvzw.org/informations/spip.php?article6
[6] http://cryptome.org/isp-spy/yahoo-spy.pdf
[7] http://fr.readwriteweb.com/2010/08/02/a-la-une/tim-oreilly-amliorer-monde-vaut-bien-peu-de-vie-prive/
[8] http://www.internetactu.net/2009/08/31/technologies-de-surveillance-ou-de-discrimination/
[9] http://www.techdirt.com/articles/20101013/14344011415/how-is-it-that-a-random-comment-on-reddit-leads-to-your-friend-getting-tracked-by-the-fbi.shtml
[10] http://www.yoogle.be
[11] http://etraces.constantvzw.org

Comments:  http://pluto.kuri.mu

Plutonian Striptease IX: Employee of a social games company

Artlab,naked on pluto annet dekker @ 5:08 pm

Plutonian Striptease IX: Employee of a social games company

astounding stories of super science: the invisible death
Plutonian Striptease is a series of interviews with experts, owners, users, fans and haters of social media, to map the different views on this topic, outside the existing discussions surrounding privacy.

Employee of a social games company wishes to remain anonymous.

Social networks are often in the news, why do you think this is?
It’s new, there are new biz possibilities, media is interested in money and success stories.

In what way do they differ from older forms of communication on the Internet?
A huge amount of private data from users is available to be used in many ways.

Who is ultimately responsible for what happens to the data you upload to social networks?
Heh heh. The network should be, but I doubt that the systems will ever be very secure. So in reality: the user has the responsibility to think carefully what to upload.

Do you read Terms of Use or EULA’s and keep up to date about changes applied to them?
I am a normal human being. I never do.

Do you think you’ve got a realistic idea about the quantity of information that is out there about you?
Not really.

How do you value your private information now? Do you think anything can happen that will make you value it differently in the future?
I do value my private information and I try to keep just necessary information available. And I don’t want to share any radical thoughts on social networks.

How do you feel about trading your personal information for online services?
It’s ok. But I am willing to share just the minimum amount of real information or I may even use a fake account.

What do you think the information gathered is used for?
Mostly for targeted marketing. Shortly, to make money.

Have you ever been in a situation where sharing information online made you uncomfortable? If so, can you describe the situation?
It’s a typical story. You comment something with wrong words, soon you regret it. So the simple rule is to think twice before posting/sharing/commenting.

What is the worst case scenario, and what impact would that have on an individual?
I’d guess that a very common one is to have problems at work by commenting company strategy or criticizing a superior. In the long run the worst scenario is that there is a lot of wrong or bad information on you and you will never be able to remove that data. It may ruin your life and reputation totally.

Nowadays, most of the “reading” of what is written online is done by machines. Does this impact your idea of what is anonymity and privacy?
Actually yes. It makes me feel that it doesn’t matter much what information I leave behind, which is, of course stupid.

Can a game raise issues such as online privacy? And if so, what would you like to see in such a game?
Games on social networks can easily demonstrate how games can access private information, and how easily users give permission to do so. A game could e.g. reveal texts and photos from user’s profiles. “Click the button x times to reveal a secret” – “share the secret with your friends, earn experience and level up by spreading gossips.”

Comments:  http://pluto.kuri.mu

Plutonian Striptease VIII: Owen Mundy

Artlab,naked on pluto annet dekker @ 5:07 pm

Plutonian Striptease VIII: Owen Mundy

astounding stories of super science: phantoms of reality
Plutonian Striptease is a series of interviews with experts, owners, users, fans and haters of social media, to map the different views on this topic, outside the existing discussions surrounding privacy.

Owen Mundy is an artist and programmer who investigates public space and its relationship to data. He makes images, sculpture, and software that highlights inconspicuous trends and offers tools to make hackers out of everyday users. A former photographer in the US Navy, he co-founded Your Art Here, a non-profit organization in Bloomington, Indiana that puts art in public commercial spaces. In 2010 he created Give Me My Data, an application that helps users export their data out of Facebook. He is an Assistant Professor of Art at Florida State University and is currently based in Berlin funded by the DAAD.

Social networks are often in the news, why do you think this is?
Assuming “social networks” refers to the online software, application programming interfaces (APIs), and the data that constitutes sites like MySpace, Facebook, and Twitter, I feel its popular to discuss them in the news for many reasons.

Online applications that enable enhanced connectivity for individuals and other entities are relatively new and there is an apparent potential for wealth through their creation and the connections they enable. News organizations are businesses, so they naturally follow the money, “reporting” on topics which are considered worthwhile to advertisers who buy space in their pages, pop-ups, and commercial breaks.

Additionally, the public is still grappling with the ability for online software to collect and distribute data about them, both with their permission and through clandestine means at once. Most users of social networking software don’t understand the methods or potential for behavior manipulation in these user interfaces and therefore are wary of what they share. Other users seem to be more care-free, making many private details from their lives public.

Finally, online social networking software is still evolving, so it’s difficult for users to establish a consensus about best practices. I believe the accelerating functionality of web 2.0 software will continue to complicate how we feel about online social networks for much longer.

In what way do they differ from older forms of communication on the Internet?
If web 1.0 consisted of static pages, web 2.0 is made-up of dynamic information, generated by the millions of users accessing the web through personal computers and mobile devices. This rapid rise in user-generated content has been made possible by the development of online applications using a myriad of open source programming languages. Sites like YouTube (launched 2005 and written primarily in Python) and Facebook (2004, PHP) which consist entirely of content contributed by users, store information in databases allowing for fast searching, sorting, and re-representation. Initially, the web consisted of information and we had to sift through it manually. Web 2.0 allows for the growth of a semantic web and possibilities for machines to help us describe, understand, and share exponential amounts of data through tags, feeds, and social networks.

Who is ultimately responsible for what happens to the data you upload to social networks?
Obviously users are responsible for deciding what information they publish online. Still, Facebook’s “Recommended Privacy Settings” should emphasize more not less. While their privacy settings always seem to be a work in progress. One thing they do consistently is default to less privacy overall, thus more sharing of your information on their site. For a website that depends on user-generated content the motivation to encourage sharing is clear enough. Still, why do they use the word “privacy” if they’re not actually embracing the idea?

I honestly feel that all software that accepts user input, credit cards and phone companies, should be bound by strict written rules preventing them from sharing my information with advertising companies or the government. It seems like a basic human right to me. If there are laws preventing me from downloading and sharing copywritten music then there should be laws protecting my intellectual property as well.

Do you read Terms of Use or EULA’s and keep up to date about changes applied to them?
Only when curious or suspicious. They’re usually intentionally full of so much legalese that I don’t bother torturing myself. But as an artist and programmer, I have an interest in sharing my information in public space because I benefit from its appreciation. Perhaps a more accurate answer to this question would come from someone who doesn’t have this interest.

Do you think you’ve got a realistic idea about the quantity of information that is out there about you?
Yes I do. I am definitely conscious of the information I share. In addition I also research methods of surveillance and incorporate that knowledge into my art practice. So while I haven’t seen the visualization that determines the likelihood that my grandmother is a terrorist threat, it’s guaranteed that one is possible with a few clicks and some multi-million dollar defense contractor dataveillance tool. This is true for any human being through aggregation of credit card records, travel information, political contributions, and what we publish online.

How do you value your private information now? Do you think anything can happen that will make you value it differently in the future?
It’s important to me to situate my art practice in public space where it can provoke discussion for all audiences. But yes, I do intentionally avoid distributing dorky pictures of my mountain bike adventures. Seriously though, I’ve been watching the news. I can say that I’m definitely alarmed by the post-911 surveillance on U.S. citizens.

How do you feel about trading your personal information for online services?
It depends on the service. We all have to give up something in order to use these tools. For example, without telling Google Maps that I’m interested in Mexican restaurants in Williamsburg, I might never find Taco Chulo. This continual paradox in making private information public is somewhat rendered void if the sites we use actually protect our information, but it is more likely that everything we say and do online is used to some degree to enhance and direct advertisements. Here’s another example, 97% of Google’s revenue comes from advertising, which should suggest that while they produce software, their ultimate goal is to appeal to advertisers. [1]

What do you think the information gathered is used for?
I have a background in interface design and development so I know how great it is to use web stats to see where users are clicking. If traffic is not moving in the direction that you want then you can make specific buttons more prevalent.

I can only imagine what a company like Google does with the data they gather through their analytics tools. The fact that a government could access this information is scary when you think of the actions of past fascist states. The amount of control a government could levy through a combination of deep packet searching and outrightly ignoring human rights is staggering.

Have you ever been in a situation where sharing information online made you uncomfortable? If so, can you describe the situation?
Definitely. Sharing financial information online always causes a little anxiety. One of my credit cards has been re-issued three times now due to “merchant databases being hacked.”

What is the worst case scenario, and what impact would that have on an individual?
I just moved to Berlin so I’m looking at the history of this place quite a bit. This is relevant because, during the Cold War, before Germany was reunited, the German Democratic Republic (GDR) Ministry for State Security (MfS) or ‘Stasi’ is believed to have hired, between spies and full- and part-time informants, one in every 6.5 East German citizens to report suspicious activities.[2] That’s millions of people. At this moment, the ratio of people entering data on Facebook to non-members is one in fourteen for the entire world.[3]We have probably the most effective surveillance machine in the history of mankind.

Nowadays, most of the “reading” of what is written online is done by machines. Does this impact your idea of what is anonymity and privacy?
Well, it’s not surprising the interview has come to this point, since I keep referrencing the multitude of methods of computer-controlled digital surveillance. It’s true that machines have replaced humans for remedial work. For example: searching text strings for suspicious statements. But the ultimate danger to my privacy is only enhanced by machines. The real problem is when companies that I trust with my data decide to share it with corporations or governments that engage in behavior control.

Can a game raise issues such as online privacy? And if so, what would you like to see in such a game?
I find this question to be intentionally leading. Perhaps its because I’m generally optimistic and come from farmers, so I assume anything is possible? Not being a gamer though, I can tell you honestly that yes, it is possible, but you will have some challenges if you intend to reach an audience that doesn’t already agree with you. Reaching non-gamers who don’t already feel the same will be even tougher.

Games are generally immersive; you are either playing or your not. The biggest challenge you may have is reaching non-gamers, because they don’t generally invest large amounts of time in games for enjoyment. Try to find ways to highlight complexity and prompt discussion regardless of how long users play, and make this clear from the outset.

Finally, in politically-motivated cultural production it’s important to appeal to an audience first, and let them come to the issues on their own. Who would sit through a film knowing the twist at the end? Especially a conclusion intended to spur critical thinking and action, which is of course the goal.

[1]Google Financial Tables for Quarter ending June 30, 2009” Retrieved October 13, 2010
[2] Koehler, John O. (2000). Stasi: the untold story of the East German secret police. Westview Press. ISBN 0813337445.
[3]Facebook Statistics” Retrieved October 14, 2010

Comments:  http://pluto.kuri.mu

Plutonian Striptease VII: Florian Cramer

Artlab,naked on pluto marieke @ 6:27 pm

Plutonian Striptease VII: Florian Cramer

astouning stories of super science: the ape-men of xlotli

Plutonian Striptease is a series of interviews with with experts, owners, users, fans and haters of social media, to map the different views on this topic, outside the existing discussions surrounding privacy.

Florian Cramer’s background is comparative literature and art history with a focus on experimental arts, media, poetics and aesthetics. From 2006 to 2010, he was responsible for the Networked Media Master programme of the Piet Zwart Institute. Since 2008, he works as an applied research professor (Dutch: “lector”) supervising the research programme Communication in a Digital Age of the Piet Zwart Institute.

Social networks are often in the news, why do you think this is?
I see two major reasons: One, social networks have popularized classical Internet communication with accessible interfaces. So finally, everyone – including journalists – understands Internet as more than just an electronic distribution channel, and has also been cured from the “cyberspace”, “hypermedia” and “virtual reality” memes. But as a result, functionality and communication culture that has always been a core feature of the Internet is falsely being perceived as new, as a “social media revolution”.

The second reason is widespread job anxiety among the makers of the traditional news media, and those who indirectly live on the food chain of classical mass media production. Research suggests that younger people devote most of their media attention to social networks and “Web 2.0″ services. At the same time, nobody except Google and, to a lesser degree, Facebook has figured out a revenue model for them. They help making traditional media marginal, but don’t create equivalent work opportunities for ‘creatives’ – designers, writers, etc. Contrary to the common belief that “social media” brought a shift from centralized one-to-many communication to a decentralized and self-organized model, just the opposite is true in regards to media ownership. A culture of countless local newspapers and TV stations, for example, is being replaced with a few global players in the Internet. The days where filmmakers could live from making MTV video clips, where critics could survive outside academia as newspaper and magazine writers and artists lived from jobs in the advertising industry are almost over. The strong news media coverage of social network mirrors the respective anxiety of the editors.

To explain this a little bit more: On one of our conferences, the German advertiser Marc Schwieger quoted Henry Ford saying that fifty percent of the money he spent for advertising was money flushed down the toilet. Social networks and other Google Ads help people like Ford reaching only the 50% which are the real target group of his company. Since all traditional news and broadcast media economically depend on advertising, the whole industry is shrinking to half its original size as an effect. This streamlining and economic efficiency gain might even justify the dotcom and new economy stock market craze of the late 1990s retroactively. One heavily invests into a new technology only when expecting breakthrough productivity gains, productivity in the economic sense of generated value divided by labor costs. If users create most of your content, if you need designers only once in a while for a template overhaul, and most of your staff consists of software developers and system administrators, this means a radical shift in media professions.

This conversely explains why Apple has become a news media darling, with Steve Job’s press conferences being broadcast as breaking news. Apple’s consumer devices and services successfully sell (and thus finance) traditional mass media industry content: music, movies, TV series, now also magazines. I wouldn’t be surprised if these two competing models, user-generated social media and mass media content sold over online services, will continue to coexist, and if social networks will partly have been a hype of the early 2010s. They will probably continue to be the media for younger people in school and college, but even those may move towards paid editorial media with age. It boils down, after all, to a question of having no income and a lot of time for Facebook versus having an income but no time. A Facebooker/Twitterer/blogger lifestyle is simply unsustainable for anyone with a life, a job, or both. If my scenario is right, then social media will continue to be socially powerful but economically marginal.

(2) In what way do they differ from older forms of communication on the Internet?
As said, mostly in interface design and accessibility. If you analyze a service such as Facebook, you can see that practically all its social communication functions already existed, and were commonly used, in the multiuser terminal operating systems of the 1970s and 1980s – Unix, Vax, VM/CMS and others: commands to see which other users were online at the same time, mail messages and chats (‘talk’ in Unix), user status messages (‘finger’), sharing files (via setting file permissions) etc. etc. This, however, required physical access to a university or company server and expert knowledge of terminal-based operating systems. So only a very small elite of people knew and used these technologies. Dial-up BBSes, which provided similar functions for anyone with a home computer and a telephone line, had a similar user experience. In the 1990s, the classical World Wide Web primarily provided an interface for reading pages, but was harder to use for publishing stuff yourself. Pages needed to be coded in HTML and uploaded using external services like FTP, group communication needed to resort to other services like E-Mail mailing lists, newsgroups and IRC chat.

With the availability of always-on broadband Internet, newer generation web browsers and more complex HTML features, it became possible to integrate all these functions into web sites and use the browser as a one-stop interface. This way, the web was effectively turned from an electronic library into a user-friendly operating system. The earliest manifestations were web forums, auction sites, blogs and Wikis. If there’s genius in Facebook, then in the absorption of all these media into one with a relatively clean and straightforward user interface.

The idea of the online community as a social medium, on the other hand, is anything but new. Classical examples include The Well in the late 1980s, AOL, Compuserve and Digitale Stad Amsterdam in the early 1990s. Facebook for sure has taken this idea to a new level – but in the end it simply is what AOL would have morphed into if it had been run by more competent managers and developers. Data-mining was not yet as advanced in the 1990s, and privacy issues were less debated, but structurally everything was already in place back then.

(3) Who is ultimately responsible for what happens to the data you upload to social networks?
It is your responsibility because it is your own stupidity if you share information that you do not want everyone to know. In this respect, posting something in a “social medium” is no different from, for example, publishing something in a newspaper or in a book. “Social media” services can only be blamed for the illusions of intimacy and privacy they create, making people falsely believe that they are only talking to their friends. But the same problem exists with E-Mail since unencrypted E-Mail can be read by anyone with access to the network nodes in between the sender and the recipient, and by the provider of your web mail service if you use one.

(4) Do you read Terms of Use or EULA’s and keep up to date about changes applied to them?
I avoid services and software for which I need to click an EULA as much as possible. – Good news is that in most juridictions, these EULAs are legally void. Unfortunately, there has not been enough effort to actively bring them down in court.

(5) Do you think you’ve got a realistic idea about the quantity of information that is out there about you?
No, because others are aggregating information about me that I can neither control nor revoke. I have not been amused in the past, for example, that pictures of me and my partner taken in a private social context ended up on Flickr and Facebook, marked up with my name, and posted by people who falsely think of themselves as critical media activists. I had a full-fledged social relations profile on Facebook before I ever became a member because people had been careless enough to upload their gmail or Hotmail address books to the site, feeding Facebook’s social graph algorithm. And these examples do not even include hidden corporate and governmental information gathering. It would be naive to assume that company and government databases don’t routinely leak, with information being traded to third parties. The interesting perversity of the so-called social networks is that intelligence gathering has turned from high-paid agency work into volunteer self-surveillance. It was rather naive by the Chaos Computer Club to call the German government “Stasi 2.0″ given that Facebook’s database and social graph really is the user-generated, Web 2.0 version of an intelligence database.

(6) How do you value your private information now? Do you think anything can happen that will make you value it differently in the future?
A good example of an information collection that was at first harmless but soon gained entirely new significance were European public censuses in the 1920s and early 1930s which tracked people’s religious affiliations.

(7) How do you feel about trading your personal information for online services?
I only use online services for public information.

(8) What do you think the information gathered is used for?
First of all marketing, secondly governmental intelligence, thirdly for a black market of insurance companies, banks and corporate employers to assess the contract risks of an individual or a group, plus foreign intelligence services and employer’s competitors seeking clues for bribing or blackmailing individuals or finding out trade secrets; and finally, to criminals for finding profitable targets. For this, one doesn’t necessarily need data leaks, but can work very well with public data. Thanks to camera manufacturer tags and no also geo location tags in digital photographs, Flickr, for example, is an excellent resource for spotting homes of people who own expensive photography equipment.

(9) Have you ever been in a situation where sharing information online made you uncomfortable? If so, can you describe the situation?
If I describe it here, I would provide more online clues and links to the respective information.

(10) What is the worst case scenario, and what impact would that have on an individual?
The answer to question (6) hints to the historical worst case so far.

(11) Nowadays, most of the “reading” of what is written online is done by machines. Does this impact your idea of what is anonymity and privacy?
Given how rudimentary and error-prone semantic pattern recognition algorithms and other artificial intelligence algorithms are, the above is rather good news.

(12) Can a game raise issues such as online privacy? And if so, what would you like to see in such a game?
The game could succeed in this goal if it works as a simulation of the whole within the constrained, user-visible realm of a social Internet service. It could demand from its players to create data mining schemes under the guise of friendly services that affect the other players. Whoever succeeds in extracting the most valuable information wins the game, just like in real life.

Comments:  http://pluto.kuri.mu

Plutonian Striptease VI: Marc Garrett

Artlab,naked on pluto marieke @ 7:35 pm

Plutonian Striptease VI: Marc Garrett

astounding stories of super science: marooned under the sea

Plutonian Striptease is a series of interviews with with experts, owners, users, fans and haters of social media, to map the different views on this topic, outside the existing discussions surrounding privacy.

Marc Garrett is Co-director and co-founder, with artist Ruth Catlow of the Internet arts collectives and communities – furtherfield.org, furthernoise.org, netbehaviour.org, also co-founder and co-curator/director of the gallery space HTTP Gallery in London, UK. Co-curating various contemporary Media Arts exhibitions, projects nationally and internationally.

Net artist, media artist, curator, writer, street artist, activist, educationalist and musician. Emerging in the late 80’s from the streets exploring creativity via agit-art tactics. Using unofficial, experimental platforms such as the streets, pirate radio such as the locally popular ‘Savage Yet Tender’ alternative broadcasting 1980’s group, net broadcasts, BBS systems, performance, intervention, events, pamphlets, warehouses and gallery spaces. In the early nineties, was co-sysop (systems operator) for a while with Heath Bunting on Cybercafe BBS, dedicated to arts, technology and hacking.

Social networks are often in the news, why do you think this is?
I find this quite a complex question. There are a few reasons why social networks are often reported more readily and regularly represented by traditional media news outlets. The main reason can be put down to social media’s popularity in everyday culture, connecting with people’s everyday habits and behaviours through different forms of networked, communication gadgets and tools. The massification of easy interaction, demanding hardly any thought in how to use the technologically, on-line networked and mobile interfaces, makes them perfect conduits for distributed information and communication.

There has been much media noise about activists getting recognition for their causes using social networks.
In June 2009, the Iranian government tried to halt (and succeeded in the end) on-line and off-line dissent, whilst protesters exploited every avenue of communication to get their immediate situations seen by the world outside. Many posted videos taken by mobile phones of the violence taking place, to different social networking platforms such as YouTube. Then traditional news corporations took these videos as part of their news packages and reported on the troubles occurring in Tehran, Iran. The most visited tweets for regular updates was ‘persiankiwi’, whose tweets were displayed on the official website of Mirhossein Mousavi, the former prime minister who declared that his election victory had been stolen from him. “we must go – dont know when we can get Internet – they take 1 of us, they will torture and get names – now we must move fast”, was one of the many comments posted on this Twitter site. Also many images of Iran’s street demonstrations were uploaded to the photographic network of Flickr.

The artist Deena DeNaro, created an interesting ’short’ video piece in the style of ‘Ad-Busters’ Magazine and ‘the Yes Men’, called ‘Reversing the Wave’. As a critique of Nokia’s decision to offer Iran the technological ability to monitor its own citizens during the protests. DeNaro’s ‘Subvertisement’ film proposes a “Brand Identity Correction” by bringing “Nokia’s brand identity closer in alignment to its actions…”. DeNaro’s piece questions Nokia’s unethical stance placing “profits above privacy and basic human rights.” It was selected for the MoFilm competition for the Cannes Lions TV Advertising Festival 2010, where the brief was to produce an innovative 60 second advertisement for Nokia. In the end, it was withdrawn from the competition.[1]

The powerful human stories told from the streets, governmental and corporate attempts to restrict their freedoms and artists and activists cultural hacks naturally draw attention to these social networks.

In what way do they differ from older forms of communication on the Internet?
With the emergence of what is now called web 2.0 we saw the dying off of user created web-pages and self-built platforms for sharing information and interacting with each other. This led to a simplification and homogenization of interfaces and in turn limited the ways in which people could communicate and collaborate with each other. Instead of creating their own social spaces they played those created by others (most commonly corporations who stand to profit from harvesting their data).

Mobile technologies are now starting to dominate the experience of networked interaction and some fear that the Internet (as an open and free public space) will be left behind. Since the iPhone the consumer class and business class has incorporated as part of their habitual everyday experience, a new form of receiving and sharing information whether it be from their social or business networks or the latest national and international news sources. At the same time information and social interactions are scaled down; more detailed and contextual information is not as accessible within these more limiting interfaces.

Let’s face it, it’s all about business and as we have learned over and over again, this is what really matters over humane, social values. How human content with deeper engagement survives this depends on the imaginations of those out there and how they challenge, critique and develop technologies in the future.

Who is ultimately responsible for what happens to the data you upload to social networks?
Furtherfield has a policy where subscribers/users/collaborators are in total control of their own data, they can delete it all if they wish. We do not own their content – they do.

There are (of course) various issues relating to the uploading of data to social networks. Firstly, communication by everyday people on the Internet with blogs and popular social networks has created a social shift in that there is now less distance between work and leisure. Our sense of privacy is changing fast too. We hear of employers checking up on what their workers are saying about them on-line. I personally know of one individual who was taken to task at an interview because the interviewers noted that they had openly called their x-boss a twat on Facebook. Organizations now ask their workers to act with caution when using these platforms. Reminding them what they say or share about themselves, the company or the people they work with; can have an effect on the reputation of an organization, its public image and status.

There is a danger as people negotiate this change in public/private identity that they will become too self-conscious in sharing their own ideas and life experience. There are serious issues concerning how mentally vapid and shallow our societies will become if everyone self-censors according both to the lowest common denominator of peer-pressure and according to their career orientated sensibilities – some feel that we are already there. Self-censorship happens a lot in specialized and academic fields, and if this behaviour bleeds across into peoples’ everyday lives, it will become even harder for society to develop authentic dialogue and debate around important social and political issues.

Do you read Terms of Use or EULA’s and keep up to date about changes applied to them?
Yes I do read them, sometimes. Most of my interaction on-line or when receiving software has a focus usually relating to my practice. There is always an inner dialogue at work asking myself what the compromise is and what I can get out of it, if agreeing with the terms put forward. Many EULA’s are so pretentious and dictatorial when they lay out their specifications, sometimes one feels that they need to be taught a lesson every now and then. It also depends on the context and whether certain EULA’s have been built or discussed, peer-created by a collaborative group or a community in the first place. It would be interesting to see some imaginative productions involving groups actively and imaginatively going against EULA’s, as a critique.

Do you think you’ve got a realistic idea about the quantity of information that is out there about you?
A rough idea.

How do you value your private information now? Do you think anything can happen that will make you value it differently in the future?
This relates to a set of really interesting philosophical questions that arose recently in an interview with Heath Bunting on Furtherfield called ‘The Status Project: Data-Mining Our Identities’[2]. “Way back in 1995, there were already various groups and individuals … who were critiquing human relationships whilst exploiting networked technology. Creative people who were not only hacking technology but also hacking into and around everyday life, expanding their skills by changing the materiality, the physical and immaterial through their practice. It was Critical Art Ensemble (CAE) who in 1995 said “Each one of us has files that rest at the state’s fingertips. Education files, medical files, employment files, financial files, communication files, travel files, and for some, criminal files. Each strand in the trajectory of each person’s life is recorded and maintained. The total collection of records on an individual is his or her data body – a state-and-corporate-controlled doppelganger. What is most unfortunate about this development is that the data body not only claims to have ontological privilege, but actually has it. What your data body says about you is more real than what you say about yourself. The data body is the body by which you are judged in society, and the body which dictates your status in the world. What we are witnessing at this point in time is the triumph of representation over being. The electronic file has conquered self-aware consciousness.”

I have been using the Internet since the mid-nineties, have done and said so much that another identity has fully emerged. A different version of me is out there for all to observe, a ‘data body’. A life which can be observed and studied as being deeply involved in networked art, activism and digital communities. If particular individuals see this information and feel uncomfortable about it due to their own socially constructed and limited, conservative perceptions – that’s their problem, not mine. If it goes against me, so be it.

Heath’s own position on this matter is that “Technology is becoming more advanced and the administration of this technology is becoming more sophisticated and soon, every car in the street will be considered and treated as persons, with human rights. This is not a conspiracy to enslave human beings, it is a result of having to develop usable administration systems for complex relationships. Slaves were not liberated because their owners felt sorry for them, slaves were given more rights as a way to manage them more productively in a more technologically advanced society.”

Perhaps we are willing slaves for data-production.

How do you feel about trading your personal information for on-line services, and what do you think the information gathered is used for?
I always feel uneasy when giving out personal information to on-line services. The fact that content posted by people remains on the servers of Murdoch’s MySpace.com and Facebook.com, even after when one has removed the content, is disturbing. Facebook, MySpace and several other social networking websites send data to advertising companies to find consumers’ names and other personal details.

Berlin’s European privacy regulators recently declared their concerns with Google systematically collecting vast amounts of data about its users and their on-line habits. Increasing fears that Google could become a threat to consumer privacy. Although I agree with the privacy regulator’s intentions; I do worry that us humans are always termed under the ’singular’ and limiting category of being ‘consumers’. What about if you are not a consumer, does this make you less valid for civil rights – what if you happen to be a Roma?

Anyway, this data-munching by corporations is the tip of the iceberg. A UK site I have been visiting recently called TH!NK PRIVACY[3], offers free down-loadable materials for individuals and organizations so that they understand the issues around such mass collection of our data more, and what to do about it. I have issues about the site, but it’s a start, “data protection and electronic communications to freedom of information and environmental regulations … independent public body set up to uphold information rights in the public interest, promoting openness by public bodies and data privacy for individuals.”

Have you ever been in a situation where sharing information on-line made you uncomfortable? If so, can you describe the situation?
Whether it is on Facebook or any other social network. I am always suspicious when asked to give details about my age or if I am married or not, and religious or political views. Not because I am worried with what they will do to me personally, but because it is none of their business.

Ironically, most of my real objections have been with situations where I have not been allowed to share relevant information on public platforms. I remember putting up information linking to some of my own earlier works of net art made from 95-96, on Wikipedia. And a certain individual kept deleting my details from the media art and net.art history section. In the end I just gave up. They did not want my information to contradict their more ‘official’, and historically accepted version of net.art. We also had difficulties creating pages about Furtherfield on Wikipedia, which in the end was resolved by various individuals on Furtherfield’s behalf continuously rewriting links and information on there. Because we are from a grass roots background, our information was deemed less valid than someone or a group who was from an institution or a corporate entity, quite frustrating really.

What is the worst case scenario, and what impact would that have on an individual?
The Internet being owned and controlled by corporate interests and the gradual eroding of self-made and community made spaces. A shift from active co-creation of social space to passive consumption of culture. Net Neutrality is under imminent threat.

One case scenario which springs to mind is the equivalent of Kafka’s ‘The Trial’. “Kafka thus illustrates a human tendency to submit to authority, even when that authority is dubious. Joseph K. doesn’t question the legitimacy of the case, the courts, or the law system that he has allegedly violated. And it’s important to remember that at no time during the novel does Joseph – or the reader – learn what he is accused of. However, this detail gradually loses importance as the story progresses – a fact that should provoke outrage in both characters and readers, but which ultimately fails to do so.”[4]

For me, it also extends to concerns linking to DNA patenting of life and everything. Fostering biopiracy of indigenous resources, turning life forms into commodities to be used for profit and destroying economic sustainability of developing nations. “We’ve been very concerned about the whole concept that companies can patent life-forms,” says Glenn Wiser of the Center for International Environmental Law. “That’s really troubling, and when it’s done without the informed prior consent of people, it’s much more troubling.”[5]

The world we live in, including ourselves is in danger of becoming nothing more important than data-products. The plants, our land, our food, the air we breath, our ideas, our affections, our (supposed) freedoms, our names, the sky, and of course – everything we are and what we do. It’s all up for grabs…

Nowadays, most of the “reading” of what is written on-line is done by machines. Does this impact your idea of what is anonymity and privacy?
We have had a continuing relationship with machines for a long time now, and they have been extremely useful in offering different possibilities, whether we use them for supporting or killing each other. it’s not machines that worry me. It’s humans, especially those who sacrifice other people’s well being for their own greed and self-interest and imposed lame ideologies.

Can a game raise issues such as on-line privacy? And if so, what would you like to see in such a game?
Yes, I think a game can raise issues about on-line privacy. It would be great to see a game that hacks the very infrastructure of these social networks. Not just a game but an intervention. Not exploiting on-line, everyday users’ activities, but still offering them the choice to be aware of it taking place and if interested, allowed to be a part of it somehow. Imagine a game that in its activity broke down the monetary value of user-based information, giving the data less credibility, changing its ecology. Offering alternative, constructive avenues to move beyond the interface.

References:
[1]Deena DeNaro, Reverse The Wave.
[2]The Status Project: Data-Mining Our Identities, an interview with Heath Bunting.
[3]TH!NK PRIVACY – The Information Commissioner’s Office.
[4]The Trial, by Franz Kafka: Understanding Joseph K.’s Failed Case. Maria Luisa Antonaya.
[5]Lust for Life – ethics of bioprospecting by pharmaceutical companies. Barbara J. Fraser.

Comments: http://pluto.kuri.mu/

Plutonian Striptease V: Geert Lovink

Artlab,naked on pluto marieke @ 7:33 pm

Plutonian Striptease V: Geert Lovink

astounding stories of super science: monsters of moyen

Plutonian Striptease is a series of interviews with with experts, owners, users, fans and haters of social media, to map the different views on this topic, outside the existing discussions surrounding privacy.

Geert Lovink, founding director of the Institute of Network Cultures, is a Dutch-Australian media theorist and critic. He holds a PhD from the University of Melbourne and in 2003 was at the Centre for Critical and Cultural Studies, University of Queensland. In 2004 Lovink was appointed as Research Professor at the Hogeschool van Amsterdam and Associate Professor at University of Amsterdam. He is the founder of Internet projects such as nettime and fibreculture. His recent book titles are Dark Fiber (2002), Uncanny Networks (2002) and My First Recession (2003). In 2005-06 he was a fellow at the WissenschaftskollegBerlin Institute for Advanced Study where he finished his third volume on critical Internet culture, Zero Comments (2007).

Social networks are often in the news. Why do you think this is the case?
“Who cares about the internet!” is a phrase I heard kids saying the other day. If only we were there… Internet, the forgotten medium. It is indeed true that I have gotten used to the fact that the internet is overhyped and constantly in news over the past 15 years. Social media is just the latest craze, following terms such as Web 2.0 and the intense reporting around ‘blogging’. We should not forget that part of the urge to report is the fact that these social networking sites are in direct competition with ‘old media’ such as TV and print in terms of the ‘attention economy’ and related advertisement budgets.

In what way do they differ from older forms of communication on the Internet?
It is fair to say that social networking sites as we know them since the early 2000s did not exist before. What is new is the social aspect (befriending etc.). The micro-blogging aspect of Twitter goes back to the very beginning of the Web and that’s not what makes it so different. The definition of ueberblogger Dave Winer still holds for Twitter and many of the Facebook comments: it is ‘the voice of a person’, a short text grouped around a link. Social media so far is a centralized pointing system (and in that indeed a competitor, timewise, of the Google search engine). So one way of looking at Web 2.0 is from the perspective of ’social search’. We are looking for friends, music we like and latest news. But what is the status of the conversation? Are we lured into that to press more data out of us? Social relations and conversations have become commodities that can be traded–and most people probably don’t mind, just as they didn’t mind to give their opinion in polls. Did we mind if companies found out about the television programs we watched? It’s just the idea of having intimate ‘friends’ and talking to them, which belongs to our private sphere–and this is perhaps where companies like Facebook went one step to far in their attempt to commodify, milk and exploit the social.

Who is ultimately responsible for what happens to the data you upload to social networks?
Good question. Some call for national governments to regulate this business. Many countries do not have the same tough laws like, for instance, Germany. In most cases you just sign away all your rights when you start using these services. One could also see this as the flip side of the free and open economy. The deal right now is quite simple: we give you access to all these wonderful services free of charge, and in exchange we sell your private data.

Do you read Terms of Use or EULA’s and keep up to date about changes applied to them?
No, sorry. I know I should. But aren’t people like Peter Westenberg from Brussels doing that on our behalf? I hope so. Please, Peter, continue to do the good work on our behalf! I promise to read some thick unreadable German philosophy books in exchange.

Do you think you’ve got a realistic idea about the quantity of information that is out there about you?
I don’t think so. One of the things I noticed over the past few years is that I am getting less and less on Google if you search for me. I like that. It probably just means that their methods to store documents is getting more refined. Most of the links would have been doubles. I like the idea that it has its ups and downs, like stock prices. What I need to get a better grip on is the amount of video with me in it. I wished I could somehow organize this better but it’s still costly and hard to organize for an individual who is not a film maker or video artist to take matters in your own hand. I don’t mind bad quality perse but as a radio maker I can get quite upset about recordings with a bad audio quality. I really hope we can pull of a video theory movement. I am collecting theory (documentary) films but most of them were made for the regular film festival circuit or television. Theory has yet to move into the online video realm.

How do you value your private information now? Do you think anything can happen that will make you value it differently in the future?
It all depends on the political situation. I suppose we can all find ourselves in nasty circumstances in which people start campaigning against you. There is plenty of evidence for that already in the Netherlands with ’shockblog’ sites like http://www.geenstijl.nl/. The English Wikipedia has a reasonable entry what these websites are all about: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Geen_stijl. In this particular case I don’t mind Geen Stijl. It’s more that it could point at a possible trend.

How do you feel about trading your personal information for online services?
I am not concerned about it. I just find it boring. It is good to campaign against it, not only from a privacy point of view but because it threatens to close down the open internet. The harvesting of private information as a principle enforces a culture in which people are being locked up in their own narcissistic monade of sites and services they ‘like’. The recommendation systems, also the one of Amazon, narrow down one’s intellectual horizon. Why not suggest things I dislike, never heard of or where relevant in that context in 1963 or 1728? I am in favour of serendipity as a system design. But let’s not give too many ideas to these companies. Maybe we should continue this conversation offline?

What do you think the information gathered is used for?
This is widely known but maybe not written about that much. The market for that information is particularly big in the USA, where you can buy all sorts of information about private individuals. It would be good to update that image with detailed reports about Google and Facebook. More investigative journalism in this area would be welcome.

Have you ever been in a situation where sharing information online made you uncomfortable? If so, can you describe the situation?
Five or ten years ago spam was somehow more sophisticated. The tricks were not that well known. One (criminal) company called me and tried to get credit card details from me. One has to remain alert not to click on certain links in spam messages.

What is the worst case scenario, and what impact would that have on an individual?
Berufsverbote. Jail sentences. Hate campaigns. Expropriation of communities because of manipulated information. Broken friendships and marriages, you name it. It is well known what you can do with targeted campaigning against individuals. In Europe we live in an innocent post-Cold War era.

Nowadays, most of the “reading” of what is written online is done by machines. Does this impact your idea of what is anonymity and privacy?
Only few of us will see anonymity as a possible answer for the corporate and state attacks on your privacy. Perhaps we should promote anonymity more, but we all know that it is not the perfect protection. We’d better talk about pseudonimity.

Can a game raise issues such as online privacy? And if so, what would you like to see in such a game?
As a ’serious game’? Maybe. I am inspired by the Web 2.0 Suicide Machine, developed in Rotterdam by Moddr Lab. It could be good to develop a similar website or installation that you can use in museums, clubs and festivals that ’simulates’ a full scan of your privacy data that can be found on the net, or bought, which would presume a little delay. Give Me My Data is going in this direction but only looks at what you submitted to Facebook. It would be good to combine sources and see if you can create a comprehensive profile. I once used an MIT Media Lab student project that did just that but perhaps it is better to go beyond the visualization of search engine data.

Comments: http://pluto.kuri.mu/

Plutonian Striptease IV: Rob van Kranenburg

Artlab,naked on pluto marieke @ 7:32 pm

Plutonian Striptease IV: Rob van Kranenburg

astounding stories of super science: murder madness

Plutonian Striptease is a series of interviews with with experts, owners, users, fans and haters of social media, to map the different views on this topic, outside the existing discussions surrounding privacy.

Rob van Kranenburg lives in Ghent. He is in constant and full wonder about life in general and the human condition in particular.

Social networks are often in the news, why do you think this is?
It says more about the news now. It is clear that the idea of mass media itself is now adding to the core of problems; its hierarchical notion of gaining more attention or more ‘hits’ is fueling imbalances in the world.

In what way do they differ from older forms of communication on the Internet?
Simple people like me, with no money, no heritage, no support, felt relevant by the ability to publish anything they want on he internet. This is sanity to me. The social networks work like a bit of a tribe where old friends find you, you can quickly see where someone is.

Who is ultimately responsible for what happens to the data you upload to social networks?
Me. I sometimes hesitate to Twitter or facebook or blog an idea, mostly when I am angered and angry and realize every moment that anything I put out there is there to stay.

Do you read Terms of Use or EULA’s and keep up to date about changes applied to them?
No.

Do you think you’ve got a realistic idea about the quantity of information that is out there about you?
Yes.

How do you value your private information now? Do you think anything can happen that will make you value it differently in the future?
I find it difficult to assert what is private at any moment. This changes over time. Strangely I believe I have more agency, which may not be true. The moment people assert their authority over me on account of formal reasons I walk away. If I can no longer walk, I have to go in hiding or fight.

How do you feel about trading your personal information for online services?
A trade off if I get my book, my networks, my data, my texts, my friends.

What do you think the information gathered is used for?
Making me a better offer. I’m not so worried about commercial parties; they want me happy, alive and rich so I can buy. They have no interest in putting me down. I may worry more about government databases but these are not as efficient so as to really worry. So I act in total transparancy and would not mind being tracked, traced and keylogged as it would only reveal my need to create more balance.

Have you ever been in a situation where sharing information online made you uncomfortable? If so, can you describe the situation?
Only because my friends started to reveal data that I knew they would regret later, and I deleted that immediately.

What is the worst case scenario, and what impact would that have on an individual?
In general in particular political contexts: death and worse if you are being forced to betray family and friends. For me in my luxurious situation the banality of my everyday life is all that is at stake.

Nowadays, most of the “reading” of what is written online is done by machines. Does this impact your idea of what is anonymity and privacy?
It makes me wonder even more about why we as a community and as activitists, theorists are so lured into this narcissism of being worried about our mundane simple and rather boring lives? How many individuals have really changed the course of history or have really been deemed ‘dangerous’ by those in power? The case in Holland about databases and abuse in the thirties dealt with simple markers – jewish, non jewish, gypsy; non gyspsy and these qualities can be ascertained from everywhere. They were not concerned with individual authorship or ideas.

Can a game raise issues such as online privacy? And if so, what would you like to see in such a game?
That the end would compel you to get out into the street and organize within local communities for better and simpler relationships between the neighbourhood, you and the world at large. For this you have to share and go out and make friends and take risks.

Comments: http://pluto.kuri.mu/

Plutonian Striptease III: Geoff Cox

Artlab,naked on pluto marieke @ 7:30 pm

Plutonian Striptease III: Geoff Cox

astounding stories of super science: the moon master

Plutonian Striptease is a series of interviews with with experts, owners, users, fans and haters of social media, to map the different views on this topic, outside the existing discussions surrounding privacy.

Dr. Geoff Cox is currently a Researcher in Digital Aesthetics as part of the Digital Urban Living Research Center, Aarhus University (DK). He is also an occasional artist, and Associate Curator of Online Projects, Arnolfini, Bristol (UK), adjunct faculty, Transart Institute, Berlin/New York (DE/US), Associate Professor (Reader), University of Plymouth (UK), where he is part of KURATOR/Art and Social Technologies Research group. He is an editor for the DATA Browser book series (published by Autonomedia, New York), and co-edited ‘Economising Culture’ (2004), ‘Engineering Culture’ (2005) and ‘Creating Insecurity’ (2009). He is now working on a new book.

Social networks are often in the news, why do you think this is?
Social networks, or more specifically the social web, are bound up with vested interests and the social imaginary. They have become key sites for entertainment, making business and even doing politics. Along with this, and as communications technologies become key sites for various forms of contestation, there are bound to be some juicy stories. In addition, social networks are becoming the apparatus of the news. On the one hand, there is the use of platforms for various kinds of social movements and alternative news gathering, and on the other, the old news apparatus is adapting itself to new kinds of distribution channels – rather like selling any other product.

In what way do they differ from older forms of communication on the Internet?
In some ways not much, or not as much as the hype would lead us to believe. This is an important point, and one that many commentators would stress in that the Net is more than the Web, and that the Net has always been a sharing platform – BBS and UseNet, etc – what some refer to as extreme sharing networks. Even with Web 1.0 there were plenty of examples of social activities and file sharing making the notion of a new release little more than a marketing exercise. The distinction is that sharing now has become subject to centralizing and privatizing controls. I love the uncompromising way Dimitri Kleiner explains this: “Web 2.0 is capitalism’s preemptive attack on P2P systems”. Sociality and sharing have become enhanced but at the same time ever more commodified.

Who is ultimately responsible for what happens to the data you upload to social networks?
Strictly, if you agree to the terms of service, I guess the person who uploads it is responsible – as no doubt they are the ones who are signing away various rights to their data. In many ways this is the key issue, not the content as such but the ownership of the data. The data becomes capital and you decide whether or not to trade it.

Do you read Terms of Use or EULA’s and keep up to date about changes applied to them?
Despite what I say above, no, not really although clearly I should. There’s simply not enough time in the day to read pages and pages of text – often many thousands of words and written in inaccessible legal jargon. To read the detail would make most services untenable on ethical grounds so I guess people are far more pragmatic and again trade ethical principles for use value (even those related to commercial exploitation). I personally don’t do that much trading along these lines.

Do you think you’ve got a realistic idea about the quantity of information that is out there about you?
No, probably not, but I’m not too paranoid, but in general try not to upload much information about myself. I also am reluctant to use social networks as I prefer to have very few (real) friends. As expected, I try to be mindful of the various strategies being developed to encourage me to upload data. As we hear from the news, it doesn’t take much to be able to assemble a whole profile for someone from very little information as a starting point. The artist Heath Bunting has also demonstrated how easy it is to construct a profile of a “real” person (as part of his “Status Project”).

How do you value your private information now? Do you think anything can happen that will make you value it differently in the future?
I’m old school. Mostly I would like to demolish the whole notion of private property, as this relates to information too. As you can tell, I do not value it much at all in itself but the difficulty is that others do. A change of the prevailing logic around property would change the ways in which value is negotiated but this is rather idealistic on my part I admit.

How do you feel about trading your personal information for online services?
As I mentioned already, and it’s not something I do much. However, it seems clear that this is what people do, and often quite knowingly. They sign away rights to platform owners in exchange for sharing services and are willing to live with the compromises this necessitates. It seems like these are for free, but clearly they are not. I have tried to avoid such compromises where possible.

What do you think the information gathered is used for?
Ultimately this is for the accumulation of capital, or in other words profit or surplus value, and even if it is not altogether clear how profit or value can be extracted. Data on people is clearly a crucial aspect of this if not the prime commodity in itself – such are the conditions of informational capitalism and what people refer to as the attention economy.

Have you ever been in a situation where sharing information online made you uncomfortable? If so, can you describe the situation?
No, not really. As I said, as a skeptic (or luddite!), I don’t share that much information over online networks so remain fairly comfortable.

What is the worst case scenario, and what impact would that have on an individual?
Individuals could be seen to be selling themselves to the network in a perverse reversal of usual relations (as users and their data become ever more entangled). To put it differently, the worry is that through social networks, new kinds of subjectivities are being constituted that are market-driven and that engage sociality in restrictive ways. This is the case already to some extent but the worst case scenario relates to the extreme degree to which this is happening.

Nowadays, most of the “reading” of what is written online is done by machines. Does this impact your idea of what is anonymity and privacy?
No, not really, as social relations already involve the interplay of humans and machines, for better or worse – in strange combinations of human and non-human actions. Even radical networks have to take this logic on board.

Can a game raise issues such as online privacy? And if so, what would you like to see in such a game?
Of course, why not, especially given that social networking is game-like anyway. I guess I’d like to see this as an opportunity to emphasize the rule sets that are at work, and to suggest that if social networking can be considered to be a game, that there are cheats/hacks that can disrupt the rules. I think my answers to some of the other questions also indicate this way of thinking and how the issue of privacy might be engaged or made contradictory.

Comments: http://pluto.kuri.mu/

« Previous PageNext Page »
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-Share Alike 3.0 Unported License.
  • RSS
  • Twitter
  • Facebook
  • Flickr
  • YouTube
  • Vimeo