Successfully reported this slideshow.
We use your LinkedIn profile and activity data to personalize ads and to show you more relevant ads. You can change your ad preferences anytime.



Download to read offline

Captured at Birth? Presence, Privacy and Intimate Surveillance

Download to read offline

Presented at IR15: Boundaries and Intersections, Daegu 2014 on 23 October 2014.

Audio, etc, available here:

Dr Tama Leaver, Curtin University
Department of Internet Studies
Centre for Culture and Technology

Related Books

Free with a 30 day trial from Scribd

See all
  • Be the first to like this

Captured at Birth? Presence, Privacy and Intimate Surveillance

  1. 1. Captured at Birth? Presence, Privacy and Intimate Surveillance IR15: Boundaries and Intersections, Daegu 2014 Dr Tama Leaver, Curtin University Department of Internet Studies Centre for Culture and Technology @tamaleaver
  2. 2. Outline 1. (Co-)Creating Online Identities 2. Shifting Surveillance 3. Negotiating Intimate Surveillance (CC BY NC)
  3. 3. I. (Co-)Creating Online Identities
  4. 4. The Networked Self / Networked Publics • Persistence • Replicability • Scalability • Searchability (boyd, 2010) • + Ownership (Aufderheide, 2010)
  5. 5. Identity 2.0 • In Perpetual Beta • Networked • (other) User-generated identity • Distributed • Indexed • Persistent (Helmond, 2010)
  6. 6. Web Presence • Internet Footprints • Digital Shadows • Social Media Rivers  From “user-generated content” to “content-generated users.” (Allen, 2009; Leaver, 2010)
  7. 7. Shared assumptions The Networked Self, Identity 2.0, & Web Presence • Individual agency is central. • Presumption that identity should be controlled, curated and managed by the ‘self’ being presented. • When agency is not the controlling influence, this is seen as an issue to be overcome (eg better privacy settings).
  8. 8. The ‘Real Name’ Web Nowadays, however, the anonymity of the [early] internet and the construction of online personas that do not reflect offline identities have been reconstructed as 'risk factors' of internet use … Governments, schools, parents and other concerned parties now routinely warn against online imposters, bullying and identity theft, and social network sites like Facebook or Google+ have policies requiring users to register with their real names and data, and prevent them from having more than one account. (Zoonen, 2013: 45)
  9. 9. The Shift to Real Names (nymwars) …
  10. 10. Parents as initial identity (co-)curators … • Parents/guardians set the initial parameters of online identity. • From ultrasounds photos to cute toddler pics, losing that first tooth etc … • How do and should young people ‘inherit’ online identities? • How ‘connected’ are online identities when real names are enforced? (And how easily would anonymity or pseudonymity minimise this connectivity?)
  11. 11. ‘a rite of pregnancy’ The emergence of such social media platforms as Facebook, Flickr, Instagram, Twitter, Bundlr and YouTube facilitating the sharing of images has allowed the wide dissemination of imagery and information about the unborn in public forums. Indeed, sharing of the first ultrasound photograph on social media has become a rite of pregnancy for many women. (Lupton, 2013, p. 42)
  12. 12. Parents: Framing Online Identities?
  13. 13. II. Shifting Surveillance
  14. 14. Broad(ening) Surveillance Culture • CCTV, airport scanners, various forms of tracking. • Government tracking (incl. NSA/Prism etc.). • Corporate tracking (eg frequent flyers or corporate rewards cards). • Social media surveillance, Facebook profiles and shadow profiles. • Facial recognition in government, corporate and social media tracking.
  15. 15. But … Sousveillance • Sousveillance as "inverse surveillance", countering/reversing organisational surveillance with wearable devices and individuals surveying society and each other (Mann, et al, 2002). • Albrechtslund (2008): “social surveillance” as knowing play. • E.J. Westlake (2008) goes a step further, arguing that just because a user’s online performance and activity are being recorded performances can be entirely false or misleading, subverting the effectiveness of even top-down surveillance. • Sousveillance: organised watching of the watchers, such as organised groups watching and reporting on Facebook’s practices (Fernabck 2013).
  16. 16. Sousveillance as Material Resistance CV Dazzle anti-facial recognition makeup
  17. 17. Intimate Surveillance • Beyond ‘peer surveillance’ which involves active agents (Andrejevic, 2005) . • Intimate surveillance involves the purposeful (and almost always well-intentioned) surveillance of young people by parents, guardians and friends; the surveyed have little or no agency to resist themselves. • For example, the sharing of Facebook photographs of very young children (no ability to request non-sharing, sometimes tagged with parent’s names, sometimes their own; hence shadow profiles) and a realm of related practices.
  18. 18. III. Negotiating Intimate Surveillance
  19. 19. Normalising Infant Surveillance: Sprout Baby app
  20. 20. Sprout Baby: Sleep
  21. 21. Sprout Baby: Feeding
  22. 22. Infants generating/becoming big data …
  23. 23. #birth • March 2014: 11876 items (11408 images; 468 videos) • April 2014: 13085 (12538 images; 547 videos) • May 2014: 5259 (12866 images; 582 videos) • Total: 38409 (36812 images; 1597 videos)
  24. 24. #ultrasound • March 2014: 3619 items (3468 images; 151 videos) • April 2014: 3975 (3847 images; 128 videos) • May 2014: 3726 (3575 images; 151 videos) • Total: 11320 (10890 images; 430 videos)
  25. 25. #ultrasound 48hr snapshot (focused on first Monday of each month) • March: 289 images / 7 videos • April: 331 images / 14 videos • May: 373 images / 11 videos
  26. 26. Types of images included in those 289 … • Ultrasound humour: 8 • Social Experiences of #Ultrasounds: 32 (eg travel to first scan) • Collages/Professional Photos incl. #ultrasounds: 32 (incl personal digital storytelling collages).
  27. 27. Ultrasounds with personally identifiable text in the photo • 71 photos (26% of the set) included personally identifiable information in the photo (usually generated by the ultrasound equipment) • Typically includes mother’s full name, mother’s DOB, medical facility, estimated gestation period to date, estimated due date, date of the scan, etc.
  28. 28. The shifting visibility of Instagram photos Table 1. Instagram Timeline 16 October 2010 Instagram app launched via Apple’s App Store 12 December 2010 1 million registered users 3 August 2011 150 million photos uploaded September 2011 10 million registered users 3 April 2012 Instagram releases Android version 9 April 2012 Facebook purchases Instagram for $US1 billion 26 July 2012 80 million registered users 16 August 2012 Instagram Photo Maps launched 5 November 2012 Instagram Profiles for the Web launched 5 December 2012 Instagram removes ability for photos to appear as ‘cards’ on Twitter 17 December 2012 Instagram Alters Terms of Use 18 December 2012 Instagram reverts to previous Terms of Use after public backlash 26 February 2013 100 million active monthly users 20 June 2013 Instagram adds video (15-seconds maximum) 10 July 2013 Instagram adds native web embedding for photos and videos 6 September 2013 150 million users 12 December 2013 Instagram Direct messaging service added 24 March 2014 200 million users 26 August 2014 Instagram/Facebook release Hyperlapse app via Apple App Store
  29. 29. The Social Media Contradiction a social media contradiction may arise where users focus on the social elements – often acts of communication and sharing which are thought of as ephemeral and in the moment, comparable to a telephone conversation – while the companies and corporations creating these apps are more focused on the media elements, which are measurable, aggregatable, can be algorithmically analysed in a variety of potentially valuable ways, and can last indefinitely. (Leaver & Lloyd, 2015)
  30. 30. NB: Many positive uses of data tracking … • Tracking and surveillance are not intrinsically negative, and can be incredibly positive and useful. • Big data tracking of prematurely born babies, using “software that captures and processes patient data in real time, tracking 16 different data streams, such as heart rate, respiration rate, temperature, blood pressure, and blood oxygen level, which together amount to around 1260 points of data” revealed significant diagnostic correlations, leading to very real health improvements (Mayer- Schon̈berger & Cukier, 2013: 60-61). • Well-managed and transparent tracking, with informed consent, often leads to significant improvements across a range of fields.
  31. 31. Tentative Conclusions • Intimate surveillance normalises a surveillance culture facilitated by parents, family and friends, almost always undertaken with good intentions. • Better digital literacies about the uses (and potential abuses) of data and metadata shared with apps, platforms and services are needed (informed uses is the key). [NB: Raised in #selfies preconference.] • More transparency is required about how data might be shared and used in all contexts, especially commercial ones (including with third party apps!). [NB: The ‘Snappening’ or Dropbox password leak recently.] • Social norms need to evolve regarding the sharing (and non-sharing) of data and media generated about young people not just moral panics about data shared by young people. [Negotiated at all levels, including at children’s birthday parties!]
  32. 32. Questions or Comments? @tamaleaver References • Albrechtslund, A. (2008). Online Social Networking as Participatory Surveillance. First Monday, 13(3). Retrieved from • Allen, M. (2009). Web Presence: Understanding persistent and interlinked content as the basis of identity formation and promotion through the contemporary Internet, Communication, Creativity and Global Citizenship: Australia and New Zealand Communications Association Annual Conference, Brisbane. • Andrejevic, M. (2005). The Work of Watching One Another: Lateral Surveillance, Risk, and Governance. Surveillance & Society, 2(4), 479–497. • Aufderheide, P. (2010). Copyright, Fair Use, and Social Networks. In Z. Papacharissi (Ed.), A Networked Self: Identity, Community, and Culture on Social Network Sites (pp. 274-303). Routledge. • boyd, danah. (2010). Social Network Sites and Networked Publics: Affordances, Dymanics and Implications. In Z. Papacharissi (Ed.), A Networked Self: Identity, Community, and Culture on Social Network Sites (pp. 39-58). Routledge. • Fernback, J. (2013). Sousveillance: Communities of resistance to the surveillance environment. Telematics and Informatics, 30(1), 11–21. doi:10.1016/j.tele.2012.03.003 • Goffman, E. (1959). The Presentation of Self in Everyday Life. New York: Anchor Book. • Helmond, A. (2010). Identity 2.0: Constructing identity with cultural software., PDF: . • Leaver, T. (2010) I tweet therefore I am? Challenges in learning identity by teaching web presence, Teaching and Learning Forum, Edith Cowan University, Joondalup. • Leaver, T., & Lloyd, C. (2015). Seeking Transparency in Locative Media. In R. Wilken & G. Goggin (Eds.), Locative Media. London & New York: Routledge. • Lupton, D. (2013). The Social Worlds of the Unborn. Basingstoke: Palgrave MacMillan. • Mann, S., Nolan, J., & Wellman, B. (2002). Sousveillance: Inventing and Using Wearable Computing Devices for Data Collection in Surveillance Environments. Surveillance & Society, 1(3), 331–355. • Mayer-Schonberger, ̈V., & Cukier, K. (2013). Big data: a revolution that will transform how we live, work, and think. Great B: John Murray. • Papacharissi, Z. (2010). Conclusion: A Networked Self. In Z. Papacharissi (Ed.), A Networked Self: Identity, Community, and Culture on Social Network Sites (pp. 304-318). Routledge. • Westlake, E. J. (2008). Friend Me if You Facebook: Generation Y and Performative Surveillance. TDR: The Drama Review, 52(4), 21–40. • Zoonen, L. van. (2013). From identity to identification: fixating the fragmented self. Media, Culture & Society, 35(1), 44–51. doi:10.1177/0163443712464557

Presented at IR15: Boundaries and Intersections, Daegu 2014 on 23 October 2014. Audio, etc, available here: Dr Tama Leaver, Curtin University Department of Internet Studies Centre for Culture and Technology


Total views


On Slideshare


From embeds


Number of embeds