14 March 2010

Danah Boyd: privacy depends on context

Be the first to share

“We’ve been looking at privacy and publicity as a black-or-white attribute for content, when really it’s defined by context and the implications of what we’ve chosen to share.”

This is the essence of Microsoft researcher Danah Boyd‘s keynote speech at SXSW Interactive. And here is Danah’s write-out of the talk.

Here are a few of the reviews, from which I have distilled some telling quotes:


“Boyd says that privacy is not dead, but that a big part of our notion of privacy relates to maintaining control over our content, and that when we don’t have control, we feel that our privacy has been violated. This has happened a few times recently. […]

To help underscore her points, she recalled and discussed a number of major privacy blunders from Facebook and Google. […]

Boyd then transitioned to talk a bit about the fuzzy lines between what is public and private. She says that just because people put material in public places doesn’t mean it was meant to be aggregated. And just because something is publicly accessible doesn’t mean people want it to be publicized.”

CNET News:

“For Boyd, her years of research have been eye-opening into the divergence between what users want–and their emergent behavior–and the ways tech companies interpret those desires. “Often,” she said, “companies trying to build efficiencies into their systems profoundly misunderstand what they’re trying to be efficient about.” […]

“There’s a big difference between publicly available data and publicized data,” she said, “and I worry about this publication process, and who will be caught in the crossfire.”

“We are going to see a continued emergence of new tools that complicate the boundaries between the public and the private, and technology will continue to make a mess of it.”

“Ultimately, then, for the people who build these systems,” Boyd said, “it is imperative that they ask questions about what people really want and what people want to achieve.”

“For marketers, it’s essential to remember that the accessibility of people’s information online doesn’t necessarily indicate that they want to be seen by you. Just because you can interpret people,” Boyd said, “doesn’t mean you’re going to get it right. Just because you see something doesn’t mean you know what’s going on.”

And to the systems designers on hand for her keynote, Boyd had one final message: “As designers, you need to think through the implications and ethics of what you’re doing,” she said. “You are shaping the future. How you handle those challenges will shape the future.”

More reviews in The New York Times and the Daily Telegraph (including the delightful quote: “Making something that is public more public is a violation of privacy.”)

Be the first to share
3 October 2015
Stop Googling. Let’s Talk.
MIT Professor Sherry Turkle has been studying the psychology of online connectivity for more than 30 years. For the past five, I’ve had a special focus: What has happened to face-to-face conversation in a world …
29 September 2015
[Experientia book] Ethnography on elderly health and wellness
As we age, we increasingly depend on public services and the community for support. Well-designed public services can greatly affect the lives of the elderly and their experiences of healthcare. Experientia collaborated with DesignSingapore Council …
27 September 2015
Privacy is UX
UX strategist and researcher Alex Schmidt argues that in a world full of security breaches, snooping, and third-party data aggregators, you should know where your users’ data goes. In this article, she explains why it’s …
24 September 2015
[Free eBook] Understanding the Connected Home
Understanding the Connected Home: Thoughts on living in tomorrow's connected home By Peter Bihr and Michelle Thorne Berlin, September 2015 Available on GitBook We know that connectivity increasingly makes its way into our living rooms, kitchens and bedrooms. Into …
24 September 2015
Is it time to forget Big Data and focus on real people?
Big data opens up whole world of insight for designers, but only if we focus on the actual users behind the numbers, writes Maya Nix, the Marketing Content Producer for ClickTale, in this UX Magazine …
5 September 2015
Gallup: quantitative customer experience metrics aren’t enough
Over the past decade, Gallup has observed a growing arms race among brands to implement bigger and better customer experience platforms. These systems -- also called customer experience platforms, customer experience management or CEX management …
5 September 2015
Ezio Manzini talk at the RSA (London)
Excerpt (above) - full replay Abstract H​ow do we nurture conditions in which a diffuse creativity can flourish and evolve through collaborative organisations and, in so doing, realise meaningful steps towards a more resilient and sustainable …
5 September 2015
Prototypes capturing new user experiences for bicycles
Back in May 2015, the Urban Futures team of the Future Cities Catapult (based in London, UK) completed a design research project around cycling. This short project uses film to sketch out some possibilities of …

We are an international experience design consultancy helping companies and organisations to innovate their products, services and processes by putting people and their experiences first.

29 September 2015
[Experientia book] Ethnography on elderly health and wellness

As we age, we increasingly depend on public services and the community for support. Well-designed public services can greatly affect the lives of the elderly and their experiences of healthcare. Experientia collaborated with DesignSingapore Council on understanding how the elderly interact with public services and how we can look towards improving their lives with design. […]

2 July 2015
Getting citizens involved in protecting fragile energy environments

A new project funded under the FP7 European Commission framework is getting citizens involved in testing new tools for reducing energy consumption during peak loads, in the hope that its pilot program will set the new state of the art for protecting locations with fragile electricity supplies. One of France’s most fragile regions The Provence-Alpes-Côte […]

5 May 2015
Experientia designer Dohun YuLuck Jang 유록 in Design 4 Disaster

Design 4 Disaster features an engaging illustrated safety manual for ship passengers, a personal project by Experientia designer Dohun YuLuck Jang 유록. After the Korean ferry accident last year, Yuluck (who is Korean) wanted to find a way to make safety manuals more interesting to read. He spent one year designing an interactive safety guide […]

16 March 2015
Better Health and Wellbeing: Giving the elderly in Singapore sparkling golden years

Invitation: sharing session, Singapore, 30 March 2015   What are the hopes and fears of the elderly in Singapore? How can designers offer solutions that support the elderly in managing their health and wellness? What can healthcare professionals do to help them keep active? What role can technology play in the elderly’s daily lives? Design consultants […]

1 January 2015
Happy Playful New Year
21 December 2014
Experientia’s Twitter feed live

Experientia has now its own Twitter feed. Four months of Putting People First posts and other links have already been uploaded. If you followed Experientia on Twitter through the feed of its CEO, Mark Vanderbeeken, make sure to now also follow the company (but don’t unfollow Mark, who will keep on tweeting away). And while […]

See all articles