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The Cocktail Chatter Line My academic career has been concerned with the social and policy aspects of information and communication technologies (ICTs), with a focus on gender, youth, and political economy. This research interrogates and promotes the public interest in ICT policy; conference presentations, publications, research grants and community service reflect my goal to inform academic and non-academic communities, thus contributing to a social justice agenda. SSHRC grants have thus engaged activist and policy communities.
Stuff Universal Access Research Canadian internet policy Structures of participation in policymaking New: digital policy literacy, look at young Canadians Building collaborative cultures of research between academics and activists/advocacy community
Sec. 7, Telecom Act: It is hereby affirmed that telecommunications performs an essential role in the maintenance of Canada’s identity and sovereignty …/TPRP: in enabling the economic and social welfare of Canada…
Young Canadians, Participatory Digital Culture & Policy Literacy What are the everyday uses of digital technologies by youth? How do these practices shape their knowledge of digital policy issues? What tools and techniques can be mobilized to create participatory and innovative digital policy literacy toolkits? What are examples and best practices of digital policy literacy projects targeted for youth that are developed by governments, educators, and activist groups?
How might we think of digital policy literacy? If we think of communication policy as broadly construed and concerned with the various principles and procedures of action that govern the uses of communication resources, at local/national/global levels (thanks Laura!), then understanding the institutions of policy governance and the various structures of participation for the policy process is a key element of digital policy literacy….
DP ISSUES - ACCESS Ownership (internet service providers, mobile phone carriers) Net neutrality and ‘traffic shaping’ debates Community & public access (libraries, schools, other intermediaries) Wi-Fi provision Spectrum management Gaps/divides/social inclusion
DP ISSUES - CONTENT Commercialization & advertising in online spaces Acceptable use policies (AUPs) in online spaces, schools, universities Data retention Representation & diversity Freedom of speech vs. censorship Authentication
DP ISSUES - PRIVACY Collection & retention of personal information by online sites, search engines Third party marketing & data mining/surveillance in online kids playgrounds (NeoPets, Second Life) Obligations of social media companies Behavioral marketing / mobile marketing Privacy policies (clear? Lucid?)
DP ISSUES – IP/COPYRIGHT Terms & conditions on online sites Peer-to-peer file sharing, downloading politics, piracy discourse Fair use/ fair dealing Digital rights management Open source culture, Creative Commons Plagiarism
. Jennifer Stoddart, Privacy Commissioner of Canada, quoted in Butler, 2009.
It’s part of growing up as a human experience to do more extreme things, to try things, to test yourself, to draw attention to yourself…until now, most generations could do that in relative obscurity. I worry that this isn’t possible now. At some point, what people did when they were 18 at some wild party will come back to haunt them when they’re running for elected office at 38.
Lisa Feinberg, Univ. of Ottawa law student, on CIPPIC complaint
Social networking sites know a lot about us, but we know very little about them. We should incorporate the issues around social networking websites into our education system. Educators should teach us about privacy protection. Privacy is integral to maturity — we need a safe space to grow into ourselves. It is important for us to be able to recognize when a space is not safe — when there are unwanted listeners. It is also important for us know that we have rights: we cannot be bound by illegal terms of service. We should be taught to challenge the questionable practices of these online social networking sites. As customers of these commercial websites, we have a voice…
Challenge #1 The various structures of participation to the policymaking process are often difficult to comprehend, confusing or alienating to enter into, and take resources (time, money or expertise) that may not be readily at hand.
Opportunities We need to be proactive and reactive at the same time when policy opportunities present themselves. The ability to actively shape policy – or make a slight dent in policy proceedings – is a necessary and timely research intervention.
Challenge #2 Evidence based policymaking that is most recognized into the policy record is typically quantifiable in nature – measurements, statistics, and the like…
Opportunities But, by conducting qualitative research (interviews, participant observation, participatory action research) with the stakeholders that are most impacted/potentially targeted by a policy issue or a policy determination, we can add much richness and depth to policy evidence.
Caveats This requires coordination amongst existing grassroots and civil society organizations…to ensure that citizen-centred needs and interests are heard. This takes sustained funding and time to conduct research. It can be emotional labor. With academic-activist collaborations, we need to be sensitive to the balance of power between academics and community/activist partners. Challenges surrounding research design can be complicated, particularly related to the funding and infrastructure of research grants, which are biased towards academics rather than community partners.
Challenge 3 We need to craft diverse modes of research dissemination to influence – if not impact in positive ways – various policy outcomes for the public interest.
Opportunities We need to frame our research and present it in ways that policymakers can use. For instance, governments like ‘the deck’ – the Power Point presentation that can be printed out as a quick summary of the main issues, objectives and recommendations. Academics used to argumentation via obtuse theorizations can popularize their language to better match policy discourse – and to influence citizens.
ISDT 1.0 and now 2.0 Policymaking: how to make it more civically intelligent? A more transparent process? What are the best tools and tactics to orient policymaking towards the public interest? What audiences to reach?