Datafication and the Internet of Things

Scholars & Thought Leaders

Laura DeNardis 

Laura DeNardis is an American author and a globally recognized scholar of Internet governance and technical infrastructure. She is a tenured Professor and the Interim Dean in the School of Communication at American University.

Rashida Richardson

Rashida Richardson is a Visiting Scholar at Rutgers Law School and the Rutgers Institute for Information Policy and the Law, where she specializes in race, emerging technologies and the law. Rashida researches the social and civil rights implications of data driven technologies, including artificial intelligence, and develops policy interventions and regulatory strategies regarding data driven technologies, government surveillance, racial discrimination, and the technology sector.

Yeshimabeit Milner

Yeshimabeit “Yeshi” Milner is an American technologist and activist. She is the executive director and co-founder of Data for Black Lives. Data for Black Lives has been working on advancing people of color in the fields of computing and artificial intelligence, in order to fight against racial bias in technology.

Julia R DeCook

Dr. Julia R. DeCook is a specialist on online extremist movements, specifically male supremacist groups like the Incels, men’s rights activists, and communities like r/TheRedPill. She has written on these subjects and been interviewed for both academic and general audiences. DeCook researches how online extremist communities navigate the constraints of digital infrastructure, specifically in how they respond to attempts to quell and stop their movements in the form of bans and censorship.

Paper: A [White] Cyborg’s Manifesto: the overwhelmingly Western ideology driving technofeminist theory  (2020)

Film & Video

Facebook showed this ad to 95% women. Is that a problem? (2020) 

How algorithmic ad targeting can segregate us. In 2019, Facebook settled a lawsuit with civil rights groups following the revelation that advertisers using their platform could use the targeting options to exclude many specific demographics from seeing their ads. It’s now more difficult for an unscrupulous advertiser to use Facebook’s platform to discriminate. However, even when you remove human bias from the system, Facebook’s ad delivery algorithms can result in biased outcomes. According to research from Northeastern University, Facebook sometimes displays ads to highly skewed audiences based on the content of the ad.

Source: Vox

A Hacker Shares His Biggest Fears

A white hat hacker, with over 30 years of experience as a cybersecurity analyst at a major Silicon Valley company, talks about why he turned his back on black hat hacking for the greater good.

Source: Vice

Books & Articles

‘Tits or GTO: The Aggressive Architecture of the Internet’ (2019) 

The breaking news on April 10, 2019 was the unveiling of the first photo of a black hole ever created, but within a few short days reporting shifted to focus on the consequences of this story for the young female fellow who contributed a significant algorithm to the collaboration. Katie Bouman, who was frequently used as the face of the Event Horizon Telescope project in media stories, took to social media to situate her work within the international scope of the collaboration. Still she became the target of vitriolic sexist and misogynist harassment focused on discrediting and diminishing her input into the project.

Source: Flow Journal

By Alison Harvey

An Open Letter to Facebook from the Data for Black Lives Movement (2018)

Give Black researchers, data scientists and Black communities access to our data. In the world we live in, data is destiny. For Black people, who have been disproportionately harmed by data-driven decision-making, this is especially true.

We urge you to work with Data for Black Lives and make a commitment to the following:

  1. Commit anonymized Facebook data to a Public Data Trust.
  2. Work with technologists, advocates, and ethicists to establish a Data Code of Ethics.
  3. Hire Black data scientists and research scientists.

By Yeshimabeit Milner

Source: Medium

Your Dating App Data Might Be Shared With the U.S. Government (2021)

Dating apps ask users for a variety of highly personal information and retain it indefinitely, potentially forever. This can include photos and videos, text conversations with other users, and information on gender, sexual orientation, political affiliation, religion, desire to have children, location, HIV status, and beyond. Many platforms also collect information regarding preferences in a partner (either through filters or using powerful algorithms that monitor users’ every swipe) and may therefore know about your preferences and deal-breakers with regard to ethnicity, religion, body type, and more. If you connect your dating app with any social media platforms—Facebook and Instagram are common choices—then the dating app company likely also has access to thousands of additional data points, including what kind of content you’ve liked on social media and who you are friends with.

Source: Slate 

Grindr Is Letting Other Companies See User HIV Status And Location Data (2018)

A data analysis conducted by an outside research firm, and independently verified by BuzzFeed News, shows that a popular gay dating app is sharing its users’ HIV status with two other companies. Because the HIV information is sent together with users’ GPS data, phone ID, and email, it could identify specific users and their HIV status, according to Antoine Pultier, a researcher at the Norwegian nonprofit SINTEF.

By Azeen Ghorayshi & Sri Ray

Source: BuzzFeed

Digital Media Practices in Households: Kinship through Data

Larissa Hjorth, Kana Ohashi, Jolynna Sinanan, Heather Horst, Sarah Pink, Fumitoshi Kato, and Baohua Zhou.  Amsterdam University Press, 2020.

How are intergenerational relationships playing out in and through the digital rhythms of the household? Through extensive fieldwork in Tokyo, Shanghai and Melbourne, this book ethnographically explores how households are being understood, articulated and defined by digital media practices. It investigates the rise of self-tracking, quantified self and informal practices of care at distance as part of contemporary household dynamics.

Gaming Culture(s) in India: Digital Play in Everyday Life

Aditya Deshbandhu. Routledge, 2020.

This volume critically analyzes the multiple lives of the “gamer” in India. It explores the “everyday” of the gaming life from the player’s perspective, not just to understand how the games are consumed but also to analyze how the gamer influences the products’ many (virtual) lives.