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The Dark Side of Media and Technology

A 21st Century Guide to Media and Technological Literacy

Edited By Edward Downs

The Dark Side of Media and Technology: A 21st Century Guide to Media and Technological Literacy is Herculean in its effort to survey for landmines in a rapidly changing media landscape. The book identifies four dark outcomes related to media and technology use in the 21st century, and balances the dark side with four points of light that are the keys to taking ownership of a media- and technology-saturated world. The text contains an impressive list of multi-disciplinary experts and cutting-edge researchers who approach 25 separate dark side issues with concise, highly readable chapters, replete with unique recommendations for navigating our mediated present and future.

The Dark Side of Media and Technology is grounded in theory and current research, but possesses an appeal similar to a page-turning dystopian novel; as a result, this volume should be of interest to scholars, students, and curious lay-readers alike. It should be the "go-to" text for anyone who is interested in learning what the research says about how we use media and technology, as well as how media and technology use us.

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Chapter Sixteen: Without Consent: The Dark Side of Ignoring the Terms of Service and Privacy Policies of Social Media Services (Jonathan A. Obar / Anne Oeldorf-Hirsch)


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Without Consent

The Dark Side of Ignoring the Terms of Service and Privacy Policies of Social Media Services


I’ve got nothing to hide. I’m not a criminal. I’m not a terrorist. Take my data.


Sound familiar? As Daniel Solove (2007) writes in “‘I’ve got nothing to hide’ and other misunderstandings of privacy” this dismissive position is common, and demonstrates a fundamental misunderstanding of Big Data possibilities and the dark side of our disregard. This error begins with the suggestion that privacy threats are only associated with wrongdoing, and assumes that data collection and data management may only result in problematic outcomes for those with criminal records. The reality is that corporations, governments and other organizations are increasingly using Big Data to make decisions about all sorts of things that impact our lives every day.

Would it bother you if your Netflix selections could be turned into data labeling your sexual orientation? (see: Singel, 2009, December 17) What if that seemingly harmless data could be combined with other data to identify your political and religious affiliations? (see: Narayanan & Shmatikov, 2008) What if knowledge of your sexual orientation, political or religious affiliations, either through Big Data products, or through social media searches could help recruiters circumvent the law and engage in hiring discrimination? (see: Acquisti & Fong, 2015)

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