34 Pages Posted: 18 Dec 2013 Last revised: 12 Aug 2017
Date Written: December 17, 2013
As online social media grow, it is increasingly important to distinguish between the different threats to privacy that arise from the conversion of our social interactions into data. One well-recognized threat is from the robust concentrations of electronic information aggregated into colossal databases. Yet much of this same information is also consumed socially and dispersed through a user interface to hundreds, if not thousands, of peer users.
In order to distinguish relationally shared information from the threat of the electronic database, this essay identifies the massive amounts of personal information shared via the user interface of social technologies as “social data.” The main thesis of this essay is that, unlike electronic databases, which are the focus of the Fair Information Practice Principles (FIPPs), there are no commonly accepted principles to guide the recent explosion of voluntarily adopted practices, industry codes, and laws that address social data.
This essay aims to remedy that by proposing three social data principles — a sort of FIPPs for the front-end of social media: the Boundary Regulation Principle, the Identity Integrity Principle, and the Network Integrity Principle. These principles can help courts, policymakers, and organizations create more consistent and effective rules regarding the use of social data.
Keywords: privacy, social media, data, fair information practice principles
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