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The Power Over Private Information in Big Data-Society: Power Structures of User-generated Data Manifested by Privacy and Data Policies

Högberg, Charlotte LU (2015) ABMM54 20151
Department of Arts and Cultural Sciences
Division of ALM
Abstract
The starting point of this thesis is the managing of user-generated data in the online ecosystem and expanding development of big data. Many are worried that companies and authorities are invading their online privacy, and the lack of control by the provider of data, the citizens, can be considered one of our time’s most pressing civil rights issues. At the same time, media and information literacy become more and more important for the ability to actively be part of society. Libraries have an educational role to gain awareness of information issues, which includes privacy issues. The aim of this study is to investigate the power structures of privacy, ownership, gathering, store and use, of user-generated data, through the discourses... (More)
The starting point of this thesis is the managing of user-generated data in the online ecosystem and expanding development of big data. Many are worried that companies and authorities are invading their online privacy, and the lack of control by the provider of data, the citizens, can be considered one of our time’s most pressing civil rights issues. At the same time, media and information literacy become more and more important for the ability to actively be part of society. Libraries have an educational role to gain awareness of information issues, which includes privacy issues. The aim of this study is to investigate the power structures of privacy, ownership, gathering, store and use, of user-generated data, through the discourses manifested by privacy and data policies of social media services. This is done by deploying a theoretical framework of power and language with critical discourse analysis, CDA, and of mechanisms of privacy with communication privacy management, CPM, theory, complemented by a discursive understanding of power and normative manifestation in online interfaces. Methodologically the study is conducted by a critical discourse analysis of the privacy and data policies of Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Google, Youtube, Tumblr, Pinterest, Snapchat, Reddit, Linkedin and Ello. An interface analysis is also conducted on the same social media services’ mobile phone applications and websites, pre and post login. By this, different discourses are identified. The companies claim that the users’ privacy is something valuable and important but this is not mirrored by the interfaces, where links to privacy policies mainly are placed in the bottom of pages and menus. In the policies privacy is constructed as possession, claiming to belong to, and be controlled by, the user. However, later statements contest this by manifesting great restrictions on both ownership and control. At the same time, the language of the policies is used to portray the user as responsible for all of the services’ practices. The policies of Reddit and Ello constitute exceptions in some respects and also express discursive struggle. In conclusion, this study shows that power in the policies is manifested by uncertainties, the users’ lack of control and influence and the social media companies’ lack of transparency. (Less)
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@misc{5435609,
  abstract     = {The starting point of this thesis is the managing of user-generated data in the online ecosystem and expanding development of big data. Many are worried that companies and authorities are invading their online privacy, and the lack of control by the provider of data, the citizens, can be considered one of our time’s most pressing civil rights issues. At the same time, media and information literacy become more and more important for the ability to actively be part of society. Libraries have an educational role to gain awareness of information issues, which includes privacy issues. The aim of this study is to investigate the power structures of privacy, ownership, gathering, store and use, of user-generated data, through the discourses manifested by privacy and data policies of social media services. This is done by deploying a theoretical framework of power and language with critical discourse analysis, CDA, and of mechanisms of privacy with communication privacy management, CPM, theory, complemented by a discursive understanding of power and normative manifestation in online interfaces. Methodologically the study is conducted by a critical discourse analysis of the privacy and data policies of Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Google, Youtube, Tumblr, Pinterest, Snapchat, Reddit, Linkedin and Ello. An interface analysis is also conducted on the same social media services’ mobile phone applications and websites, pre and post login. By this, different discourses are identified. The companies claim that the users’ privacy is something valuable and important but this is not mirrored by the interfaces, where links to privacy policies mainly are placed in the bottom of pages and menus. In the policies privacy is constructed as possession, claiming to belong to, and be controlled by, the user. However, later statements contest this by manifesting great restrictions on both ownership and control. At the same time, the language of the policies is used to portray the user as responsible for all of the services’ practices. The policies of Reddit and Ello constitute exceptions in some respects and also express discursive struggle. In conclusion, this study shows that power in the policies is manifested by uncertainties, the users’ lack of control and influence and the social media companies’ lack of transparency.},
  author       = {Högberg, Charlotte},
  keyword      = {Library and Information Studies,Library and Information Science,LIS,ALM,Privacy,User-generated Data,Power,Social Media,Critical Discourse Analysis,Communication Privacy Management Theory,Interface Analysis,Biblioteks- och informationsvetenskap,Integritet,Personlig integritet,Användargenererad data,Makt,Sociala medier,Kritisk diskursanalys,Gränssnittsanalys},
  language     = {eng},
  note         = {Student Paper},
  title        = {The Power Over Private Information in Big Data-Society: Power Structures of User-generated Data Manifested by Privacy and Data Policies},
  year         = {2015},
}