Negotiating Digital Rights: Public Attitudes on Online Privacy and Targeting, at Home and at Work

Wednesday 25 April 2018, 4.00PM to 5.00pm

Speaker(s): Professor Ariadne Vromen

Ariadne Vromen is Professor of Political Sociology in the Department of Government and International Relations, University of Sydney

There is a burgeoning discussion theorising our rights to privacy in an age when we use social media every day, but are increasingly subject to data collection and targeting by corporate advertising, government agencies, and workplaces. Understanding, negotiating and maintaining digital rights to privacy is an issue of concern for both social justice, and individual, civil rights. This paper analyses an original online survey of 1600 broadly representative Australians that asked them about their attitudes towards digital rights and governance. We analysed attitudes towards privacy in the online environment; how people navigate the shifting boundaries between what data is considered private, and what is considered public, and how people view the development of more fine-grained targeting of content. We also focused on attitudes toward current and prospective employers looking at public and private social media accounts of employees. The survey data was complemented by an online discussion group with 14 participants designed to qualitatively understand attitudes to real world digital rights scenarios. Overall, we found that most believe they are still entitled to privacy in the digital context but that this is nuanced in online spaces where data is both collected and targeted at them every day. Many of our participants are concerned by their privacy being increasingly encroached upon by governments and employers. Our research suggests that data justice discussions need to include citizen viewpoints on how access to digital privacy at home and at work is shaping everyday digital rights.

She has undertaken extensive research on young people’s political participation, including a collaborative project The Civic Network on how young people use social media for politics in Australia, the UK and USA. Her new book Digital Citizenship and Political Engagement was published in 2017, and looks at the rise of digital activism in advocacy politics and campaigning. Her three current research projects look at: the rise of crowdsourced politics via online petitions and donations; public attitudes towards digital rights and governance; and young women’s attitudes towards the future of work in Australia.

Location: Wentworth College, W/222

Admission: FREE Eventbrite