QotW6: Privacy, Surveillance, Sousveillance

Lose Your Handphone, Lose Your PrivacyPrivacy, and the lack thereof, are increasingly important topics in the information age. This coming week, we’ll be exploring the world of privacy, surveillance, marketing, and politics.

As seen in The Naked Crowd (2004), Jeffrey Rosen explains how in modern America, intimacy is obtained through self-revelation. In essence, individuals prove their trustworthiness by revealing personal details. This loss of personal privacy leads to anxiety, as the Internet makes private / public boundaries difficult to maintain.

Why is it that American anxiety about identity has led many to value exposure over privacy? Do we see the a similar sentiment in Singapore? Why are people so eager to become members of the Naked Crowd, in which we have the illusion of belonging only when we are exposed?

An example occurs in how every time you sign up for a new service, online or offline, you are trading / forsaking your privacy for other benefits, e.g. free email accounts. Perhaps it is because we voluntarily lose our privacy, while the counterpoint seems more worrisome, that is the involuntary loss of privacy. The ease of camera phones gives everyone the ability to be cultural vigilantes, capturing and sharing parts of their world which they deem important for society. Where do these people fit in the scope of privacy?

Here’s the Question of the Week (QotW):

  1. After reading The Naked Crowd (2004) by Jeffrey Rosen, use key concepts in the reading to explain how you negotiate your privacy online or offline, by giving a case study of your affiliation with a particular service (e.g. social network, blogs Youtube, school, business, etc).
  2. Cite facts from The Naked Crowd, including at least two additional sources from this week’s readings or from external peer-reviewed sources.
  3. Make a concise argument in 500 words or more (proper written English), supported with at least three APA-style citations.
  4. Start the title of your blog post as “QotW6: _____”
  5. Drop a comment here with a permalink to your blog post.

10th March, Saturday, 5pm
(Warning: Late work will not be graded)

Required Readings
The Naked Crowd by Jeffrey Rosen (July 2004)
Privacy under attack, but does anybody care? by Bob Sullivan (Oct 2006)
Sousveillance : The recording of an activity from the perspective of a participant in the activity
International Privacy Map by Privacy International

Optional Readings
• “The Youtube War” by Jon Meyersohn for ABC News 20/20 (2006)
Sousveillance in China by Virtual China (Professional vs. Citizen Journalism)
“Panveillance” interpreted by Prof. Alex Halavais (Mar 2007)
• “Mobile Phones with Videos – and Singaporeans” blogged by Phillip Tiongson (Dec, 2006)
Vanity on the rise among college students by Associated Press (Feb 2007)

Really Optional Reading
Handbook for bloggers and cyber-dissidents, by Reporters without Borders (2006)


75 Responses to QotW6: Privacy, Surveillance, Sousveillance

  1. PriMenon says:

    qns……do we do either one of the assignments or is the Qotw6 compulsory?

  2. Kevin says:

    I’ve decided that you can do either one, or both if you wish to double your possible weekly grades. As seen in the syllabus, your best ten blog posts will be taken into account for your final grade. If you want to play it safe, you can do more.

    The video / photo assignment may seem easier, though it involves more legwork and primary data gathering, which is always fun.

  3. Wong Renhao says:

    I think you just made the whole class your best friend. 🙂 We’ve all been particularly worried about getting our work in on time with the midterms (both of yours and Dr Holbert’s Marketing) looming over our heads, and Priyanka (hope I got that right) voiced a question that dominated our conversation today before the 125 exam.

    Nevertheless, I’ll try to squeeze both. Wish me luck.

  4. theory says:

    I’m glad that the class appreciates these alternatives. As a teacher, my challenge is to get you guys thinking and writing, while making it interesting at the same time. I welcome suggestions for making class and assignments fun, so do chat me up anytime. 🙂

  5. nashrin says:

    i was looking through the calendar, and I noticed, if we minus off the “about me” blog post and the bonus one, we would have exactly ten blog posts. So… erm.. best 10?

    Mr. Kevin: If you’ve got full grades for all ten blog posts, then you can keep blogging to win more awards if you’re interested. 🙂

  6. Hi,
    Apologies for the different font sizes. I dont know what went wrong. I already finished at this time. I hope can score better this time.


  7. Mihiri Salpitikorala says:

    look at the times we are up doing assingments??? hardworking students I say…..


  8. Can’t seem to see my previous comments… Anyways i’ve done thiw week blog post…

  9. Hailee says:

    Posted my permalink over 20mins ago… But it doesn’t show up here, so if there are multiple comments from me, sorry!


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