The 13th course lecture for the UMA undergraduate Social Networks course is now available. Please read and participate in Lecture 13 through the link http://www.umasocialmedia.com/socialnetworks/lecture-13-social-network-surveillance/.
This week, we continue to consider the practical implications of social networks, turning from political, business and online uses of networks to the intrusive and manipulative use of social network analysis as a means of surveillance. Threats to privacy that emerge when we connect to others online. Even when we take pains to hide our names, the choices we make in our connections to others threaten to reveal us. When data miners can sift through many thousands of accounts to look for patterns in our associations, revelations made by our peers can tag us as secret deviants, even when we keep our own deviation a tightly-guarded secret. The more that we reveal our contacts online, the more our personal privacy fades away. Those who can track our associations can influence our fate. Over the past year, new information about the nature and extent of government surveillance of our communications and associations has been revealed. At the highest levels of government, the tools of social network analysis are being used — to what end? Given the power of social network analysis to uncover and predict behavior, what are the ethical limits for its use?
In addition to reading this lecture, be sure to read the following materials on social network analysis and surveillance:
- Ewen MacAskill and Gabriel Dance: NSA Files Decoded: What the Revelations Mean for You
- Washington Post: CO-TRAVELER: How the NSA is Tracking People Right Now
- Kieran Healey: Using Metadata to Find Paul Revere
- Kristan J. Wheaton and Melonie K. Richey The Potential of Social Network Analysis in Intelligence
Your assignment every week we have a lecture is to participate in the lecture, so do be sure to both read and participate in Lecture 13 through the link http://www.umasocialmedia.com/socialnetworks/lecture-13-social-network-surveillance/. But to give you a bit of time to study for our take-home final exam in two weeks, we have no other homework due this week. I hope the breathing room helps.