CDEP Symposium: Morning Sessions

To start off my day at the symposium, I attended one of the morning concurrent sessions.  I went to the 10:00-11:15 session in Beane Hall.  I walked in and felt a little awkward, being by far the youngest one in the room beside maybe one other student. I definitely expected more! It was very informative, though, and I was very glad I went! I took notes as I listened to each of the four speakers give about a 15 minutes speech. Here is a short summary of each:


Jan Fernback, Temple University

Privacy, Data Brokers, and the Fourth Amendment: The Ethics of a Targeted Surveillance Regime

In Jan’s speech, she talked mainly about our 4th Amendment right to privacy and how online data brokers violate that right. She went into detail about data brokers and how they target individuals and are a threat to our security. She showed us some examples of data broker sites (Intellius, Been Verified, Exact Data, etc) and just exactly what kind of crazy info our ours they have (financial info, medical info, occupation, hobbies, even pets, etc).  Sites mine our info and sell it for profit, and basically anyone can buy this info. There is currently no regulatory structure for this, yet there should be. I found it disturbing just how much of our personal info could be bough by just anyone!


Jonathan Peters, University of Kansas

The Internet, Free Speech Chokepoints, and Government Regulation

Jonathan talked about a paper he had written and the main points of his paper.  His paper argues that the internet is the greatest threat to free speech because it is currently unregulated.  Privately owned companies like Facebook, Google, etc. are shaping an important time in our history with no rules on them, they make their own rules. They serve as intermediaries, but how do they get to dictate what we can and can’t say? They make up their own rules as to what content needs to be removed, blocked, etc by their moderators.  But what right to they have to say what we can and can’t say online? We need stricter rules to govern this online playing ground for the sake of our free speech. I sure don’t want Facebook telling me what I can and can’t say!


Caitlin Ring, Seattle University

Hashtags and Hate Speech: The Legal and Ethical Responsibilities of Social Media Companies to Manage Content Online

Caitlin talked in her speech about hate speech online and how it was enforced.  She looked at Twitter, Facebook & YouTube.  She showed us many examples of hate speech on all three and it made you worry for mankind just how much hate speech is out there! YouTube is the best at reporting hate speech apparently and Facebook is the worst. Again, the internet has no regulations so many times these threats and such go ignored. It made me disgusted to see just how much hate there was projected on the internet and for there to be nothing to control it.


David Wolfgang, University of Missouri

Opening the Marketplace: A Case for the Protection of Anonymous Online Comments

David outlined the concept of being anonymous online.  He looked at both sides, how it could be good and bad.  It is good because it protects minorities, whistleblowers, etc. who might be afraid to speak out otherwise.  Yet, it can obviously be bad as well because it can generate hateful, negative things as well.  He brings up though the question of who should be allowed to be anonymous and brings ethics into it. He brought it down to social responsibly and how people should be educated to make good choices, because taking away anonymity wouldn’t solve the problem.  He made some very good points and insights and I liked how he saw both sides of the story.  Overall, I feel that we do need anonymous.


Overall, I enjoyed each of these speeches and it was great that they tied in to perfectly with ideas, terms and topics from both my Comm 200 and my comm 215 (Media Ethics) classes! Did anyone else happen to attend these? What were some points you found interesting?


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