Social media offers many benefits, helping people stay in touch, reconnecting long-lost friends and creating new friendships. However, it also raises serious challenges with respect to privacy. The value of Facebook lies not in the site itself but rather in the information held in its database. Yet few users understand the worth of their own data nor the potential risks of disclosing it. In exchange for seemingly ‘free’ services, they provide personal information to the host site and unknown third parties, which can lead to disastrous consequences including ridicule, robbery, fines and incarceration.
Although users’ right to privacy has long been protected, the rapid adoption of social media has surpassed society’s ability to effectively regulate it. Today’s users lack informed consent: they must make all-or-nothing decisions about on-line privacy regardless of context; they may not be able to opt out; and even if they do, their personal information is often available through other sources over which they have no control.
The Social Privacy project will first diagnose the problem, exploring privacy issues associated with social media at the level of the individual, the enterprise and society, and then generate effective solutions, from providing users with technical safeguards and informed consent, to establishing corporate guidelines for protecting privacy, to developing and testing recommendations for public policy. This requires a multi-disciplinary approach with social and computer science methods to gather and interpret data, combined with expertise in cyber law to create effective guidelines and technical solutions. A key outcome will be a resource website with educational material and self-testing tools for users, voluntary guidelines for industry and policy recommendations for law-makers. Social Privacy’s research will offer a more solid foundation for safeguarding on-line privacy in social media networks.
Field of science
- /social sciences/political science/political policy/public policy
- /natural sciences/computer and information sciences
Call for proposal
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Funding SchemeMC-IOF - International Outgoing Fellowships (IOF)