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Moral Panics over the Internet

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Presentation to Google EU, Chaussee d'Etterbeek 180, 1040 Brussels, Belgium, 11 April 2011, based on research supported by the Oxford Internet Survey, eHarmony, and the EC’s Socio-Economic Services for European Research Projects (SESERV).

Moral Panics over the Internet

  1. 1. Moral Panics Over the Internet Bill Dutton Oxford Internet Institute (OII) University of Oxford www.ox.ac.ukPresentation to Google EU, Chaussee dEtterbeek 180, 1040 Brussels,Belgium. This is based on research supported by the Oxford InternetSurvey, eHarmony, and the EC‟s Socio-Economic Services forEuropean Research Projects (SESERV).
  2. 2. Moral Panic• a disproportionate reaction• threat to the moral order
  3. 3. Moral PanicQuestions:• Internet replacing TV?• Overreaction?• Why?• So what? What impact?
  4. 4. Oxford Internet Surveys• 2003, 2005, 2007, 2009, 2011• Cross-sectional Surveys versus Panels• Multi-Stage Probability Sample• England, Scotland & Wales• Respondents: 14 years and older• Face-to-face Interviews, High Response Rates• Sponsorship: Nominet Trust, British Library, Ofcom, and ITV.com• Component of World Internet Project (WIP)
  5. 5. The Social Order• Isolating Individuals?• Substituting Virtual for Real Friendship?
  6. 6. Online Contacts: Meeting New People Online (QC12)Current users. OxIS 2005: N=1,309; OxIS 2007: N=1,578; OxIS 2009: N=1,401Note. The question changed in 2009. 8
  7. 7. Source: Hogan, B., Li, N., Dutton, W.H. (2011), „A Global Shift in the Social Relationships of Networked Individuals‟ at:http://papers.ssrn.com/sol3/papers.cfm?abstract_id=1763884
  8. 8. Source: Hogan, B., Li, N., Dutton, W.H. (2011), „A Global Shift in the Social Relationships of Networked Individuals‟ at:http://papers.ssrn.com/sol3/papers.cfm?abstract_id=1763884
  9. 9. The Information Order• Diminishing the Quality of Information?• My Daily Me – Personal Echo Chamber?• Globalization Undermining Local Community?
  10. 10. Information Seeking Online (QC22)Current users. OxIS 2005: N=1,309; OxIS 2007: N=1,578; OxIS 2009: N=1,401 12
  11. 11. Looking for Information onDifferent Media (QA1) OxIS 2009: N=2,013 13
  12. 12. Looking for Information on Different Media (QA1) Planning a trip Taxes Use the Internet Use the telephone Use the Internet Use the telephone Personal Visit Directory or book Personal Visit Directory or book100% 100% 7% 8% 5% 10% 7% 11% 15%80% 25% 80% 18% 35% 30% 22% 8% 30%60% 8% 60% 33% 13% 38%40% 40% 62% 55% 46% 48%20% 20% 39% 29% 0% 0% 2005 2007 2009 2005 2007 2009 OxIS 2005: N=2,185; OxIS 2007: N=2,350; OxIS 2009: N=2,013. 14
  13. 13. Looking for Information on Different Media (QA1) Local schools Use the Internet Use the telephone Personal Visit Directory or book 100% 11% 8% 7% 80% 28% 37% 40% 60% 13% 15% 40% 21% 52% 20% 40% 28% 0% 2005 2007 2009OxIS 2005: N=2,185; OxIS 2007: N=2,350; OxIS 2009: N=2,013. 15
  14. 14. Reliability of Information by Internet Users and Non-Users 2009 (QA4 by QH14)OxIS 2009: N=2,013 16Note. The scale changed from a 10 point scale in 2007 to a 5 point scale in 2009.
  15. 15. Average Importance of Media forInformation by Internet Users andNon-Users (QA2 by QH14) OxIS 2009: N=2,013 17
  16. 16. Average Importance of Media forEntertainment by Internet Usersand Non-Users (QA3 by QH14) OxIS 2009: N=2,013 18
  17. 17. Centrality of the Internet and Trust over TimeOxIS 2003: N=2,029; OxIS 2005: N=2,185; OxIS 2007 N=2,350. OxIS 2009: N=2,013
  18. 18. Information Order: Privacy and Data Protection• „Privacy is dead, get over it.‟ Scott McNealy• Social Networking Eroding Privacy?• New Identities to Escape Embarrassing Posts
  19. 19. The Information Order: Loss of Secrecy and Confidentiality• Surveillance and Google Street View• Location Awareness• WikiLeaks
  20. 20. Concerns over Privacy Online: 2005-09 (all Britons) 2005 2007 2009 100% 80% 66% 61% 60%% who agree 45% 39% 40% 36% 20% n/a 0% Present use of computers and Internet is a threat to personal Use of public CCTV is a threat to personal privacy privacy OxIS 2005: N=2,185; OxIS 2007: N=2,350; OxIS 2009: N=2,013
  21. 21. Information Order: Secrecy, Confidentiality• WikiLeaks• Open Government, Transparency• Social Networking• Sousveillance
  22. 22. WikiLeaksOnline Poll fielded on 4 December 2011:„Wikileaks: Do you think that the daily barrage ofnew revelations has far reaching consequences forglobal governance and humanity? Y/N‟ATCA: Asymmetric Threats ContingencyAlliance„The first serious Infowar is now engaged. The fieldof battle is WikiLeaks. You are the troops,"Electronic Frontier Foundation co-founder JohnPerry Barlow said in a tweet reposted byWikiLeaks to its 300,000-odd followers …‟
  23. 23. WikiLeaks: Ethical Choice Points• Files Leaked by US Army Intelligence Analyst• Source Identified by a Hacker• Charges in Sweden Against Julian Assange• Accepted, Redacted, and Distributed byWikiLeaks• Accepted, Analysed, Redacted and Published by the Press (collaborating with WikiLeaks)• Take Down Efforts (Denial of Service)• Attacks on companies that support or abandon WikiLeaks, such as PayPal, Mastercard, Visa
  24. 24. The Political Order• Governments Losing Control: Pro-democracy …• Traditional Institutions under Challenge (John Moore, Getty Images)
  25. 25. The Fourth Estate“[Edmund] Burke said there were Three Estates inParliament; but, in the Reporters‟ Galleryyonder, there sat a Fourth Estate more prominentfar than they all. It is not a figure of speech, orwitty saying; it is a literal fact – very momentousto us in these times.”Thomas Carlyle (1831), Heroes and Hero-Worship, at www.gutenberg.org.etext/1091
  26. 26. Feudal Estates into the 21st CenturyEstates Feudal Modern Clergy Public Intellectuals Nobility Business, Industry and Economic Elites Commons Government„4th Estate‟ Press Journalists and the Mass Media Mob Mob
  27. 27. The Fourth and Fifth Estates Press in the 18th Century -- the „Fourth Estate‟ Internet in the 21st -- enabling a Fifth EstateEnabling people to network with other individualsand with information, services and technicalresources in ways that support socialaccountability in business andindustry, government, politics, and the media.
  28. 28. Many More Panics• Multitasking and Attention – or Holding Power• Children and the Internet – Classroom Use• Artificial Companions − No Companions• Access to Extremist Ideas• Copyright and Intellectual Piracy
  29. 29. Why the Panic?•Deterministic Perspectives – Loss of Control• Romanticizing the Past• New Technology – Generational and Experience Divides• A New Social Order – Transformative• Popular Journalism• Wonderful Anecdotes• Lack of Systematic Empirical Research
  30. 30. What Difference Does It Make?• Undermining the Fifth Estate• Chilling Effect on Freedom of Expression (e.g., Over-regulation)• Undermining the Vitality of the Internet – fuellingsocial, economic and political development• Reinforcing Digital Divides
  31. 31. What Needs to be Done?• Avoid Exaggerating Claims, or TrivializingTussles: Define Serious Issues• Limits of Disciplines – Multi-disciplinary Issues• Analytic Skepticism: Questioning Taken forGranted Assumptions• Empirical Research on Actual Implications
  32. 32. Centrality of the Internet, Trust in Government and Attitudes toward Internet Regulation over TimeOxIS 2003: N=2,029; OxIS 2005: N=2,185; OxIS 2007 N=2,350. OxIS 2009: N=2,013
  33. 33. Moral Panics Over the Internet Bill Dutton Oxford Internet Institute (OII) University of Oxford www.ox.ac.ukPresentation to Google EU, Chaussee dEtterbeek 180, 1040Brussels, Belgium.

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