Media, Algorithms, Privacy & Surveillance (MAPS)
Developments in new media and communication technologies have produced numerous concerns related to personal, social, political and economic life. This research cluster is comprised of an international team of researchers focused on the social and ethical issues that are connected to media practices, the proliferating use of algorithms, privacy negotiations, and various forms of surveillance.
As suggested by the name, this research cluster focuses on the interconnections between these four concepts:
- First and foremost, this group looks at mediated practices. Though primarily focused on new and social media, the boundaries between this and forms of traditional media have significantly blurred. With the integration of mobile devices into everyday life and ‘augmented reality’ tools, the dichotomy between being online and offline is difficult at best to sustain. Media is no longer something that is merely watched, read or listened to but is rather integrated into the fabric of daily life.
- Second, members of this research cluster look at algorithms and automated sorting practices. Big data, data mining, and predictive analytics have become increasingly important terms that represent the means for focusing services and content to media users. These practices and technologies carry an implicit set of assumptions about what, when and where to concentrate attention, efforts or information.
- Third, the concept of privacy is seen by this research cluster as an inherently flexible conglomeration of strategies employed to counter the potential for more detrimental consequences of new forms of media practices, including automated discrimination and effects on life-chances. Privacy is studied in relation to personal practices, policies, data protection frameworks, and privacy-enhancing technologies.
- Fourth, surveillance is a central focus in this research cluster. Surveillance can be seen to be constituted by practices that systematically focus on various sets of data with the purpose of influencing, managing, protecting, entitling or controlling persons or situations. It is foremost seen as being about producing (the perception of) security, but surveillance as a concept has been useful in illuminating issues related to a variety of activities and areas of work and research, including workplace monitoring, social media use, marketing and mobile applications.
This globally oriented research cluster consists of researchers with different international backgrounds, encompassing research that at present focuses on (and is partly conducted in), among others, Brazil, China, India, Russia, Canada, the United States, the United Kingdom, and the Netherlands.
From this global perspective, the MAPS research cluster examines experiences and practices related to these concepts to help contribute to the making of a more just and (cyber) secure world.