Group G: Data Privacy or Data Motility

15 Oct

Phillip Madafferi (3787446) Antoinette Samantha Thompson (3886061)

Notably, our interactions with both technology and new media have changed significantly, particularly over the last 6 years. This can be largely attributed to Web 2.0 and exacerbated by the introduction of social networking sites along with the phenomenal uptake of smartphones, which has enabled users to generate content on-the-go.  As a result ‘the 2.0 variant of the information society [has] resulted in a quantum leap forward in the scope and scale of user-generated content’ (Cote` 2012).  The unprecedented amount of user-generated content created is commonly referred to as ‘Big Data’. ‘Big Social Data’ refers to the data that is specifically generated through the use of social networking sites. For example the 340 million tweets that are sent per day on Twitter that provide relevant information in real time on experiences, brands and products would be considered as ‘Big Social Data’.

Moreover, all of the data created through user generated content is stored as historical data which can be instantaneously accessed in order to gain insight into what was occurring at any given time or at a particular location. The way in which this data moves through distributed networks once it is published is known as the concept of Data Motility. It is known as Data Motility rather than Data Mobility because the data is not only mobile – accessible on a hand held device such as a smartphone – it takes on a life of its own moving freely. This poses serious risks not only in terms of privacy, as in who has access to the information that is in constant perpetual movement, but it also raises issues in relation to who has control over that information, where it is going to and how it is being used. For example once we post a photo on Facebook we have no control over the motility of that photo, we can never be entirely sure of who has seen that photo and how it may be used.

Cote` (2012) uses the following example of the technical problem of data motility in relation to the cloud storage of large quantities of enterprise data:

“This is a key issue for enterprise data because while cloud vendors can, with 99.9999% accuracy, guarantee access to your data they can’t guarantee where it is because it has become, well, motile.”

Cote` (2012), continues by stating that “cloud storage is the future for the big social data we collectively generate”. Which,  raises the issue that if we cannot locate where our data is living then how can it be protected by new data privacy laws?

How many of you here today have social media accounts? Do you have any concerns about the information you store there, who can access this information and how it is being used?

Young people share the most intimate details of personal life on social networking web sites portending a realignment of the public and private.”(reading)

Star Wars kid was a young boy who decided to create a fun video when all of sudden his video was broadcasted across all social media platforms out of his control. People began to mock him, torment him and remix his video for their own laughter. Because of this the kid in the video got bullied and harassed at school it was so bad that he dropped out and seeked counselling.

Today collecting information has become second nature. More & more people have phones, cameras and recorders and web cameras that are able to capture every detail of our lives at the click of a button.”

No longer do we need to be famous to make information travel the world “anybody can reach a global audience” should we be concerned about this??

How would you feel if your personal information was distributed like star wars kid and the virgin mobile girl? What would you do? Has privacy come to an end for us all?

For now we have to accept and for further generations that our past and present will be preserved on the internet forever. We are living in Generation Google where at a click of a button we can find out anything about anyone as simple as a Google search. Before we had internet gossip would stay in your inner circle now we can broadcast it everywhere. We would be writing our thoughts in diaries with locks etc. No longer is this the case.

Social media is not the only threat to our privacy, companies are now collecting as much personal information as they can. Every purchase you make, credit card you have and internet surfing you do is being watched and recorded. The accessibility of these documents and records will continue to grow the more electronic we become. Is this lack of privacy going to effect the reputation of everyone and the opinions people have on each other and the judgements which are made. American philosopher John Dewey “as person is not something complete perfect, finished but is something moving, changing, discrete and above all initiating instead of final.” Will we be able to forget our bad hair days, terrible youthful moments and mistakes from the past………. “we must live with the digital baggage.” Like it or not this is what we have to get used to.

In 2007 Facebook launched news feeds which sent notices and updates on all changes on a profile. 700,000 people complained about this change as they felt it was baffling  and protested it was a violation of privacy. Facebook felt it allowed accessibility instead of secrecy. Since then they have gone on to launch many more applications and systems example status checkins which have caused major uproar maybe you should not be on facebook if you want privacy?

FAST FACTS (Reading)

  • Every day people post more than 65,000 videos on youtube
  • In 2006 Myspace surpassed million profiles
  • Since 1999 the number of blogs has grown from 50-50million
  • More then 50 percent of blogs are written by children younger then 19

Juicy campus- bulletin boards where students can anonymously post gossip and rumors about other students

Don’t date him girl- Women post concerns about men they have dated

Do you believe that employers should be legally allowed to check your social media before hiring you? or is this cyber discrimination?

Information is generated about all of us in many activities we partake in, in daily life. These details are retrieved from many things such as phone calls, doctor’s visits, pharmacy visits, even visits to the local supermarket. All these activities combined ensure that our trace is left in an evident form allowing others to pinpoint what we even buy for dinner from the supermarket (if you are an everyday rewards or flybuys member (Woolworths & Coles) this is already happening to you).

There is no sole owner of this information, it is retrieved, tracked and documented by many different entities (such as Government, Banks, Census etc) and therefore stored within these different organizations. For some time now this has resulted in to arguments about how this data can be restricted and not misused.

Da Loba (2012) suggests that there is a new movement of thought, although small, but gathering momentum. This movement is lead by Jane Yakowitz and imagines our data as a public resource that is managed appropriately which can help society develop better policies, better public health and institutions overall as we will be able to be develop a better understanding of who we all are.  For this to be effective, the data should be anonymous but made public, allowing every member of society the capability to contribute to it.

Yakowitz deems that risks of the data being hacked and identities being stolen are quite low as it would be very hard for even the most experienced hackers to identify and match the facts with figures, as the data would be sorted with great ambiguity. Yakowtiz puts forward the notion that the risks are overblown and “Do not outweigh the social benefits of having ananymoized data publicly available” (Da Loba 2012) .

Watch from 4:16 – 7min

Would you have your data made publicly available if it was guaranteed to be anonymous?


Coté, Mark. 2012 The Motility of Digital Human Being . Public Lecture delivered at King’s College London, 11 June

Neyfahk, Leon.. 2011 Our Data Ourselves. viewed

Solove, D. J. 2008 Do Social Networks Bring the End of Privacy? Scientific American viewed 8 October 2012

Wasserman, T. (2012) “Twitter Says It Has 140 Million Users” viewed 8 October 2012.

One Response to “Group G: Data Privacy or Data Motility”

  1. akel12 October 16, 2012 at 10:36 pm #

    Yesterday we spoke about Amanda Todd the young girl who took her own life after being bullied and harassed at school due to topless photos of her being circulated on the web. This speaks in volumes of the motility of data once we hit the send button and the lack of control we have over how that information is used.

    Interestingly, today it was reported that hactivist group Anonymous has published a video online outing the man who they claim was responsible for circulating the pictures that lead to Amanda’s suicide. In the video Anonymous reveal the man’s name, address and last place of employment. The police are now investigating the matter.

    You can watch the video here:

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