Until privacy advocates start freaking out about Facebook privacy settings or default broadcast settings on Google Buzz, the general population doesn’t quite understand just how much data they are offering up in exchange for use of free services on the internet. Each field filled out, each click gets translated into data-driven product improvements or are used to serve up increasingly targeted advertisements. Chris Anderson has explored the paradigm of “free” economics, but the concept hasn’t been taken far enough to suggest that we think of each data point as an economic transaction occurring between the user and the service provider, even in these “free” services. This panel will explore the idea that perhaps all user inputs could be thought of as micro-transactions of data in order to help users better comprehend the burden of the data exposure implicit in those exchanges.
Arvind Narayanan is a post-doctoral fellow at the Stanford Computer Science department and a Junior Affiliate Scholar at the Stanford Law School Center for Internet and Society. He studies privacy from a multidisciplinary perspective, focusing on the intersection between technology, law and policy. His research has shown that data anonymization is broken in fundamental ways, for which he jointly received the 2008 Privacy Enhancing Technologies Award. He is one of the researchers behind the "Do Not Track" proposal (http://donottrack.us/).
Julia Angwin is a senior technology editor at The Wall Street Journal. She led the investigative team that wrote the Journal's "What They Know" series on online privacy in 2010. The series unveiled the many surprising ways that companies use personal data -- including Facebook inadvertent sharing of personal data with advertisers, Nielsen using fake accounts to scrape medical data, Capital One using browser information to tailor credit card offers and advertisers grabbing unique identifiers through iPhone apps. She is also the author of "Stealing MySpace", which she launched at SXSW in 2009.
Sara Marie Watson is a Lead Researcher for the Web Ecology Project. She also works at Brightcove, the leading online video platform where she manages their inbound marketing content strategy. She previously researched and wrote for a Fortune 500 CIO audience as a technology analyst at The Research Board, a subsidiary of Gartner, Inc. She is interested in society’s understanding of its relationship to technologies and infrastructures, and also enjoys exploring media in transition. She graduated from Harvard College with a joint degree in English and American Literature and Film Studies. She tweets @smwat, and her online footprint aggregates at saramariewatson.com.
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