Category Archives: Identity

Online counseling lends itself to desire for anonymity

“(Online counseling) teaches clients to be aware of what’s coming out of their mouths, what they’re feeling and thinking, their wholeness and whole bodies,” Mankita said. “It’s an exciting and empowering thing that we haven’t done in the past (in person) the way we can with text. Text is really powerful.” Online therapy is particularly suited to sex and relationship work, especially for clients who crave a layer of anonymity we can’t get by going through our insurance companies or driving to an office. And clients can seek matches based on compatibility rather than proximity.

Read this item from WIRED’s Regina Lynn


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Filed under Anonymity, Connection/Isolation, Identity, Technology, our Mirror, Virtual Communities

Why can’t social media be social?

Looking over the landscape of recent blog posts on open social networking, it’s clear that folks are interested in connecting together some of their disparate accounts on a wide range of social networks. The dream is that distributed social networks will mesh with individuals–each who are on multiple social networks–and that the whole thing kind of slides up next to the blogosphere and extends the notion of a free, open, distributed Long Tail environment….But we’ve got a long way to go before we can truly open up social networking. All sorts of social-networking APIs (application programming interface) will be implemented by different vendors–and we need a way to map these APIs together and create some sort of normalized world–where friends, profile pages, groups and messages all can line up and be compatible with each other….We need a way to find people and not have some vendor own that list of people’s names. There are a few “people search” plays out there right now, but none of them are offering up the source code to their platforms or promoting the notion of open people search. We even tried to do a PeoplesDNS once. So, it’s not like we haven’t been trying!

Read Open standards for social networking from C|Net

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Filed under Aggregate, Identity, Open Source, Social Media

Yes, we’re giving up our privacy voluntarily. It’s that really so bad?

Those of us living in the west, with cheap easy access to computers and the internet and a sophisticated technological infrastructure surrounding us, are increasingly living our lives online. This is no more frightening than any other vast social change, but it will be resisted by many who see in the loss of privacy something threatening, who believe it is dangerous or dehumanising or somehow against nature. But we should never forget that we make human nature, it is not given to us, and we can therefore remake it. Our modern conception of privacy and of the nature of the individual is a product of the industrial age that is now passing, so it should not surprise us that we are finding new ways of constructing an identity online.

Read this item from the BBC

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Filed under Anonymity, Connection/Isolation, Identity, Privacy, Social Media, Technology, our Mirror, Virtual Communities, web 2.0

Assessing your online habits in terms of privacy risks

This article discusses how interactive media threaten informational privacy, especially in a legal environment that fails to protect individuals’ right to receive and use content without being scrutinized by private and government institutions.The article observes that as information about media consumption habits make up an increasingly large share of the stock of data that institutions can use in order to make inferences about individuals, it becomes increasingly more difficult for individuals to determine which types of behaviors would cause them to be assigned to a high-risk category. In the light of this observation, the article concludes by proposing that in order to address the uncertainty that individuals face in trying to figure out how institutions use personal information to categorize them into different risk groups, a privacy protection scheme that increases the accountability of these automated and manual interpretation processes is needed.

Synopsis from Lemi Baruh’s Read at your own risk: shrinkage of privacy and interactive media from the journal New Media & Society. Previously from WNM: Google’s Web History: Your search history and the privacy you willingly give away.

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Filed under Identity, Privacy, The Politics of New Media

Rise of the prank identity

For high school principal Eric Trosch, the abuse just keeps coming. We reported earlier this week how Trosch, a Pennsylvania school administrator, became the target of fake MySpace profiles back in 2005, profiles that accused the man of everything from having sex with his students to rolling doobies in his spare time. The whole fiasco ended with one of the students suing Trosch in federal court after being placed in an alternative education program, and Trosch filing his own lawsuit this week against the students responsible. But the profiles keep on coming—a new one was recently erected in Trosch’s name on LinkedIn.

Read this item from Ars Technica

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Filed under Anonymity, Identity, Technology, our Mirror, Virtual Communities

Tor, Torment and empty promises for Internet privacy

He publicized a vulnerability in a system called Tor, which facilitates anonymous Web surfing and online publishing. Used by political dissidents, journalists, and people who just want additional privacy, Tor routes Internet traffic through a special network of protected servers run by thousands of volunteers….Moore has said that he decided to launch this attack on Tor because he suspects that child pornographers are using the anonymous network to hand out kiddie porn. But it’s also more than that. Via e-mail, he told me, “If anything, I want my demonstration site to serve as a warning for anyone who believes their Web traffic is actually anonymous.”

Read Annalee Newitz’ Exploiting the Code from Alternet

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Filed under Identity, Privacy, The Politics of New Media, Tools

Aggregated clicking is big bucks

David Cancel, the CTO of the web market research firm Compete Incorporated, raised eyebrows at the Open Data 2007 Conference in New York when he revealed that many Internet service providers sell the clickstream data of their users. Clickstream data includes every web site visited by each user and in which order they were clicked. The data is not sold with accompanying user name or information, but merely as a numerical user value. However, it is still theoretically possible to tie this information to a specific ISP account.

Read this item from Ars Technica.  Previously from WNM: Just me and my “clickprint”

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Filed under Identity, Privacy