Cross-posted at OWNI.


Our BoingBoing friend, Cory Doctorow, has a great Ted Talk in which he gives an inspired and radical solution to the lack of privacy on the internet. To begin, he notes that Facebook, as just one example, doesn’t just allow, but incites disclosure by rewarding it, but only intermittently (a la B.F. Skinner and the Skinner box).

Meanwhile, parents try to protect children from disclosure and exposure with surveillance tools that block and report content.  This, Doctorow argues provocatively, only trains kids to accept surveillance as normal and unproblematic.  Instead of spying on our kids, he suggests, we should be teaching them to manipulate and avert involuntary disclosure, such that they grow up learning to question instead of accept the use and abuse of their personal information.

Lisa Wade is a professor of sociology at Occidental College and the co-author of Gender: Ideas, Interactions, Institutions. You can follow her on Twitter and Facebook.
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