In my first attempt into using Google Scholar I was able to find interesting resources that could be useful for my research topic. I was able to target this information by implementing specific keywords that were related to my topic. One of the books that came up was called Regulating Privacy: Data Protection and Public Privacy in Europe and the United States, By Colin J. Bennett. One of the main questions that this book focuses on is how do these two different regions with cultural differences react to the issues of privacy. The book also gives brief reasoning in to why the Americans and the Europeans have reacted the way they’ve done towards their privacy laws. This book is focusing primarily in to the cultural influence issues that what I will like to write about in my research paper. Like when it states, “The way in which different political systems have regulated the collection, storage, and communication of personal information may tell us about their cultural, ideological and institutional settings as well.” A big portion of my research paper will be based upon the influence of the cultural differences between Europe and the U.S. and how this different cultures and ideologies can have an impact in their concerns towards their privacy laws. So overall, for now, my first attempt and experience in Google Scholar has been pretty useful so far.
The article of Online Privacy by Patrick Marshall, discusses in depth the privacy of important personal data that is stored online such as credit-card numbers and bank account information to family photos and histories of their online purchases. He goes on to stating how the personal data that is stored online doesn’t have the same legal protection as it would if you were protecting it at the comfort of your own home. The reason behind this is because we always have hackers and advertisers who always find a way to steal your information. Hackers will hack into your system and steal your identity. While advertisers are also able to track down the websites you visit. They’re also able to view the actions you take on these websites in order to sell you products effectively according to your interests.
For example, on Facebook, if you were to put in your hobbies/interests graphic design and art. On the right corner you will instantly see ads like Want to be a Graphic Designer? Come study at Full Sail University or Visit the Museum of Modern Art for the latest exhibit. Pressing in any of these links and sharing your information is also dangerous because you can never be too sure if an ad is really authentic or not. As tempting as these ads might sound to our own personal interests, we also need to keep in mind that not every link and ad online is trustworthy. You can also be at risk of giving a virus to your computer when pressing these links. Some advertisers are only behind the evil scheme when they try to sell you products online.
Many of them are only looking out to scam people especially those with good credit. Advertisers might also tried to sell the information that they have collected from you to others. This is why many people in congress are urging and fighting for a law to be passed down that will be able to protect the personal data of online users. But many Republicans believe that too much regulation will just deprive users from going to certain websites and that it will also just cripple down the economic structure of the Internet. I believe this statement is some what true for example, in iTunes, to set-up an account you need a credit card now. I have already heard many people complaining about this issue. I’m guessing that iTunes is using this method as a means to verify your age, or at least I would hope so.
Today I introduced the first stage of the research paper: the topic proposal. Please see Assignments for a complete description, including the rubric for grading. The research paper topic proposal is due at the beginning of class on Monday, March 21 and is worth 5% of your grade. I expect it to be word-processed in 12-point font with 1″ margins and double spaced. It must be at least 100 words long, but of course you can write more. You can submit it as hard copy in class or as an email attachment before class. I will give you feedback about it relatively quickly; it is possible that your paper topic will need further refinement.
Towards the end of class I showed a few articles that discussed bias in research. It’s Not the Answers that are Biased, it’s the Questions, published in the Washington Post on July 15, 2008, is a good example of a discussion about research bias in the mainstream media (not just among scientists). It describes how the results of research on the possible danger of the chemical BPA vary depending on how the research was funded and how the research study was designed.
We will be discussing privacy next Monday: how is the definition of privacy changing in an online environment, and how do digital media make the concept more complex? Please read Marshall’s piece on Online privacy and danah boyd’s essay Social network sites: Public, private, or what? and write one reading response blog post. The Marshall piece is from a library subscription database; refer to off-campus access instructions for help.
Slides from today are available as a pdf here.