What is public in the digital age?

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Use of the Internet has raised major public issues around the definition of public and private information. Will the public need to adapt to new definitions of the public and private?

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What is public in the digital age?

  1. 1. The Politics of Access William H. Dutton Oxford Internet Institute (OII) Balliol College University of Oxford What is public in the digital age? Presentation for the 2011 Oxford Alumni Weekend, Lecture Room XXIII, Balliol College, Friday 16 September 2011.
  2. 3. <ul><li>ARPANET – Sharing Resources </li></ul><ul><li>Open Science – Reducing Secrecy </li></ul><ul><li>Open Access Publication – Sharing Knowledge </li></ul><ul><li>Open Government – Linked Data Initiatives </li></ul><ul><li>Co-creation, co-production – Wikipedia, OS </li></ul>The Culture of the Internet
  3. 4. Real Issues <ul><li>Facebook Settings – Privacy </li></ul><ul><li>Echo, Friend-Finder – Tracking </li></ul><ul><li>WikiLeaks – Confidentiality </li></ul><ul><li>Arab Uprisings to England Riots – Freedom of Expression </li></ul>“ You have zero privacy anyway, … Get over it.&quot; Scott McNealy
  4. 7. <ul><li>Press since the 18th Century - the ‘Fourth Estate’ </li></ul><ul><li>Internet in the 21st - enabling a Fifth Estate </li></ul><ul><li>−− </li></ul>The Fifth Estate Enabling people to network with other individuals and with information, services and technical resources in ways that support social accountability in business and industry, government, politics, and the media.
  5. 8. “ [Edmund] Burke said there were Three Estates in Parliament; but, in the Reporters’ Gallery yonder, there sat a Fourth Estate more prominent far than they all. It is not a figure of speech, or witty saying; it is a literal fact – very momentous to us in these times.” Thomas Carlyle (1831), Heroes and Hero-Worship , at www.gutenberg.org.etext/1091 The Fourth Estate
  6. 9. Feudal Estates into the 21 st Century Estates Feudal Modern Clergy Public Intellectuals Nobility Business, Industry and Economic Elites Commons Government ‘ 4 th Estate’ Press Journalists and the Mass Media Mob Civil Society, Individuals, Mobs, … ?
  7. 10. <ul><li>2003, 2005, 2007, 2009, 2011 </li></ul><ul><li>Cross-sectional Surveys versus Panels </li></ul><ul><li>Multi-Stage Probability Sample </li></ul><ul><li>England, Scotland & Wales </li></ul><ul><li>Respondents: 14 years and older </li></ul><ul><li>Face-to-face Interviews, High Response Rates </li></ul><ul><li>Sponsorship for 2011 from the Nominet Trust, British Library, Ofcom, O2, and ITV.com </li></ul><ul><li>Component of World Internet Project (WIP) </li></ul>Oxford Internet Surveys
  8. 11.
  9. 12.
  10. 16. Pattern of Findings Supporting Conception of Networked Individuals
  11. 17. <ul><li>Networked Institutions, such as in e-Health </li></ul><ul><li>Networked Individuals: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>going to the Internet for health and medical information, and support (UK Children with Diabetes Advocacy Group) </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>networking physicians via Sermo </li></ul></ul>Networked Institutions v Networked Individuals
  12. 18. Sermo
  13. 19. Networked Institutions v Networked Individuals of the Fifth Estate Arenas: Networked Institutions Networked Individuals News Online journalism, BBC Online, Live Micro-Blogging Citizen Journalists, Bloggers, Netizens Posting Videos Democracy E-Consultation, e-Voting, e-Petitions, Citizen Sourcing Obama campaign, Networking the Pro-Democracy Protests Education Online Learning, Multimedia Classrooms Backchannels, informal learning Health and Medical NHS Direct, Web First, e-mailing safety alerts Going to the Internet for health information, Sermo
  14. 21. The Fourth Estate Depends on an Independent Press – Independent in Relation to Other Estates The Fourth Estate : News of the World Case
  15. 23. “ Wael Ghonim, a 30-year-old executive from Google, was the administrator of an anti-torture page on Facebook, the social networking website, that is widely credited with organising the first day of protest [in Egypt] on January 25.” Jon Swaine, The Telegraph, 11 Feb 2011
  16. 24. <ul><li>Networked Institutions: greater ubiquity, universal access </li></ul><ul><li>Networked Individuals of the Fifth Estate: require a critical mass, not universal access </li></ul>Networked Institutions v Networked Individuals of the Fifth Estate
  17. 25. <ul><li>Reputation (Facebook Page) </li></ul><ul><li>Privacy (Tracking Location, Surveillance) </li></ul><ul><li>Safety of Individuals (WikiLeaks) </li></ul><ul><li>Human Flesh Search (HFS) </li></ul><ul><li>Loss of Confidentiality (Open Government) </li></ul><ul><li>Quality of Information (Wisdom of Crowds?) </li></ul><ul><li>Tools for the Mob (Riots) </li></ul>Recognizing Risks of Misuse
  18. 26. The Fifth Estate ? England Riots & Cleanup
  19. 27. 18th Century Estates: 21st Century Enemies 18th Century Estates 21st Century: Enemies of the 5th Estate Attacks Clergy Public Intellectuals ‘ Culture of Amateurism’, individualist consumerism Nobility Business, Industry and Economic Elites Vertical Integration; Monopoly over Search; Three Strikes Commons Government and Regulatory Agencies Filtering; Content Regulation; Identification; Surveillance; Disconnection Press Journalists and the Mass Media Co-opting, Imitating, Competing, and Supporting Mob Spammers, Fraudsters, Cyberstalkers, Rioters… Undermining Trust and Confidence; Fostering Regulation of Content, Attacks on Anonymity
  20. 28. Centrality of the Internet, Trust in Government and Attitudes toward Internet Regulation over Time OxIS 2003: N=2,029; OxIS 2005: N=2,185; OxIS 2007 N=2,350. OxIS 2009: N=2,013
  21. 30. Balancing Rights within an Ecology of Choices
  22. 31. <ul><li>Don’t panic – use the Internet and social media </li></ul><ul><li>Individuals learning to shape access (e.g., privacy settings, spam filters, … ) </li></ul><ul><li>Providers competing to offer control over access (Facebook and Google+) </li></ul><ul><li>Ecology of policy choices shaping rights online </li></ul><ul><li>Protect the vitality of a new 5 th Estate, and networked individuals in liberal democratic societies </li></ul>Politics of Access in Negotiating ‘What is public?’
  23. 32. The Politics of Access William H. Dutton Oxford Internet Institute (OII) Balliol College University of Oxford What is public in the digital age? Presentation for the 2011 Oxford Alumni Weekend, Lecture Room XXIII, Balliol College, Friday 16 September 2011.

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