This blog is a continuation of discussion beginning in each of the DATA-PSST! seminars. Funded by the UK's Economic & Social Research Council, they assess the premise that, after the Edward Snowden revelations of 2013, we now live in a materially and qualitatively different techno-cultural period. This blog allows delegates to express their positions, clarify arguments and carry on debates. Interested citizens and groups are also more than welcome to comment.
Tuesday, September 8, 2015
Seminar 4 Position Statement: Dr. Yuwei Lin, University for the Creative Arts
Grassroots Online Activism for shaping
the public’s views on privacy and surveillance By Dr.
University for the Creative Arts
My long term research interests in
free/open source software communities have allowed me to observe grassroots
community-driven approaches to addressing contemporary issues such as privacy,
surveillance, censorship and transparency. A number of free/open source software
have been developed for protecting user anonymity on the Internet. A popular
tool for journalists and activists is 'Tor' - “free software and an open network that protects users
privacy and helps users defend against traffic analysis, a form of network
surveillance that threatens personal freedom and privacy, confidential business
activities and relationships, and state security”. The success of the Tor
project relies on a network of volunteers who operate servers to form a series
of virtual tunnels for users around the world to access. Croeser (2012) has
coined the term 'the digital liberties movement' to describe how communities
and social movements use the Internet to build a sense of a collective identity
and a master frame that ties together issues around online censorship and
surveillance, free/libre and open source software, and intellectual property.
Activists perform various activities on the Internet including blogging,
campaigning, distributing messages within or beyond their social circles,
strategically gathering collective force to tackle landmark issues at a
specific time. Along this line, I am interested in understanding how human
actors from different backgrounds (free/libre open source software developers,
journalists, NGO workers) work together to tackle their shared concerns
(privacy, surveillance) through forming networks of activisms, and how internet
activism serves as cultural resources for informing the public’s views on
privacy and surveillance.
Croeser, Sky (2012). 'Contested technologies: The emergence of the digital
liberties movement'. First Monday 17(8). URL: http://firstmonday.org/ojs/index.php/fm/article/view/4162/3282