‘Identity’ Shifting Online
Push toward real-name and persistent identities (van
Dijck, 2013b; van Zoonen, 2013)
Networked selves: identity as persistent, replicable,
searchable (boyd, 2010) and owned (Aufderheide, 2010)
Challenges of context collapse & context collision
(Nissenbaum, 2009; Marwick & boyd, 2011; Davis &
The Networked Self
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).
BUT what about identities not tied to users with
agency? (eg babies and young children!)
Changing Surveillance Landscape
Datafication: all social activity is being tracked and digitized
"dataveillance—the monitoring of citizens on the basis of
their online data—[which] differs from surveillance on at
least one important account: whereas surveillance
presumes monitoring for specific purposes, dataveillance
entails the continuous tracking of (meta)data for
unstated preset purposes" (van Dijck, 2014, p. 205).
“We define Big Data as a cultural, technological, and scholarly
phenomenon that rests on the interplay of:
1.Technology: maximizing computation power and algorithmic
accuracy to gather, analyze, link, and compare large data sets.
2.Analysis: drawing on large data sets to identify patterns in order
to make economic, social, technical, and legal claims.
3.Mythology: the widespread belief that large data sets offer a
higher form of intelligence and knowledge that can generate
insights that were previously impossible, with the aura of truth,
objectivity, and accuracy.”
(boyd and Crawford, 2012)
“Surveillance is the business model of the
internet. Everyone is under constant surveillance
by many companies, ranging from social networks
like Facebook to cellphone providers. This data is
collected, compiled, analyzed, and used to try to
sell us stuff. Personalized advertising is how these
companies make money, and is why so much of
the internet is free to users. We’re the product,
not the customer.”
- Bruce Schneier, 2017
Lateral / Peer Surveillance
“we are becoming habituated to a culture in which we
are all expected to monitor one another—to deploy
surveillance tactics facilitated at least in part by interactive
media technologies—in order to protect ourselves and
our loved ones and to maximise our chances for social
and economic success”
(Andrejevic, 2007, p. 239).
“the purposeful and routinely well-intentioned
surveillance of young people by parents, guardians,
friends, and so forth. The surveyed have little or no
agency to resist. On one level, intimate surveillance
points to the limits of most surveillance models, in that
they are incomplete in trying to address subjects who
have no agency or awareness of the means of
resistance (for obvious reasons).”
(Leaver 2015a, p. 153)
Owlet = Big Data
“The thing that’s most
interesting is we’re collecting
the largest data set about
infant health and sleep and
wellness and safety that’s
ever been collected.”
Owlet = Tech Startup Company
$US9 million dollars in startup funding (TechCrunch, 2015)
Best Startup Award at CES 2016
• The Owlet Wearable device itself.
• The collated big data collected from all infants wearing Owlet
The big profit expectations come from the BIG DATA sets
and whatever insight these can offer.
Review of Infant Wearables
“medical professionals and consumers need to
be aware that such devices have no proved
use in safeguarding infants or detecting
health problems, and they certainly have no
role in preventing SIDS.”
(King 2014, p. 2)
"Until these monitors have been thoroughly evaluated and
guidelines for use have been established, the
recommendations physicians should give to parents who ask
about these products is simple. There is no evidence that
consumer infant physiologic monitors are life-saving,
and there is potential for harm if parents choose to use
-Christopher P. Bonafide et al, 2017
(Both false reassurance as well as false warnings!)
This Application, the Services and our Monitor are not
medical devices and are not intended to replace, modify or
supplement any prescribed medical device. Further, this
Application, the Services and Monitor are not for high risk
infants and are not intended to be a substitute for
obtaining medical advice and/or treatment from a
physician or other health care practitioner.
(Owlet Baby Care, 2016b).
“sensor society” (Andrejevic and
Design displaces other narratives
Channel 7 News, Melbourne, 4 November 2017
"The Owlet Smart Sock uses pulse
oximetry, the same technology
used in post-natal hospital wards.
The sock then sends the
information wirelessly, straight to
your mobile phone."
Owlet officially launched in Australia in November 2017
GoFundMe: Kipp-a-Roos Cause SIDS AWARENESS
Parental Influencers as Affective Amplifiers ...
Parental influencers (aka ‘Instamums’) have been the main
locus of Owlet sponsored posts (ie advertising) since
Their posts tend to replicate the Owlet promotion lines
closely (‘peace of mind’) with some customisation.
No evidence of any concerns raised about the
use/aggregation/commercialisation of children’s data.
All directly associate good parenting with Owlet use, and
imply (at different levels) non-use = bad parenting!
Affective strategies are central to selling baby and kids
Sponsoring a GoFundMe providing Owlets to prevent
SIDS builds affective connections, displacing health,
medical or privacy questions.
Affect/care wins over concerns about privacy, in part,
because Owlet use is cast only in terms of parenting
(assisted by ideas of agency which ignore children’s
Re-Directing Affect ...
A co-creation model (which emphasizes all social media
and data use/creation as always creating/making other
people as much as ourselves) shifts emphasis and
responsibility (Leaver, 2018, forthcoming).
Affect can be re-direct as care about social media and
data futures for young people (created by parents and
Children’s rights to privacy need to be considered from
birth, not just seen as emergent and incomplete
(Livingstone and Third, 2017).
Questions or Comments?
Or find me later …