25.5 years of WWW: fast-forward replay of societal evolution

socialevolutionA mere 25 and a half years have past since the birth of the World Wide Web, currently being celebrated at the Web We Want festival in London. Based on the tone of discussions at the festival today one could certainly be forgiven for coming away with the impression that in this short time the Internet, and the web it supports, has transitioned from a lawless virtual Wild West inhabited primarily by free-spirited, slightly anarchistic, computer geeks into a feudalistic patchwork of fiefdoms, each controlled by a multinational corporation that is rapidly building  ever larger walls to shield its user/inhabitants from the dangers of the free and wild internet beyond their control.

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Hidden costs of personalized information services?

RecommenderSystemPersonalized information filtering by online search engines, social media, news sites and retailers represents a natural evolution in the development towards ever more finely tuned interaction with the users. Since the internet provides an overwhelming quantity of information on most topics, information overload has become one of the main concerns for users. Perceived quality of information services is therefore strongly determined by the ease with which the user can obtain some information that satisfies their current desires. For many of the most highly success internet service, like Google, Amazon.com, YouTube, Netflix and TripAdvisor, the recommender system is a key element in their success over rival services in the same sector. Some, like Netflix, openly acknowledge this even to the extent of awarding large prizes for anyone that can improve their recommender system.

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Would you consent to having your social media data used in this study?

ConsentSurveyAs part of the “Conditions for Consent to analyze Social Media data” project within CaSMa, we have recently launched a survey to ask for your views about the type of information you would want to have before participating in social media research.

Willing consent from all parties involved in a transaction is generally accepted to be a corner stone in the foundation of ethical behavior, no matter if the interaction is of a personal (e.g. sex), professional (e.g. participation as research subject) or public (e.g. being quoted in the media) nature¹. And yet, when dealing with research, or any other interactions online, the mere facts that the interaction is mediated by machines appears to blur this fundamental concept in people’s minds.

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Watching Privacy at Apple Watch

Wearables_cloudComputeBased primarily on the past success of the Apple marketing machine, there is a great expectation that the Apple Watch will give a dramatic push to the sale of wearable technology. For CaSMa wearable tech of the Apple Watch variety raises a number of potential concerns relating to the way in which the data is managed and the limited control that users often have over this information stream.

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CaSMa internships available at Horizon Digital Economy Research

horizon_logoHorizon Digital Economy Research Institute has 13 summer internships available at The University of Nottingham, two of which are connected to the CaSMa project. Each internship is funded for 10 weeks. The internships are aimed at undergraduate students and current postgraduate students. Postgraduate students from The University of Nottingham are able to apply, on the understanding they suspend their stipend this is due to the nature of the funding source, for oversees students a Visa has to be in place already and to cover the duration of the internship to be eligible.

For more details of each internship and how to apply, see the webpage at http://www.horizon.ac.uk/Internships-available

The closing date is Sunday 31st May 2015.

The CaSMa internships are:

HOR-INTERN-2015-01: Promoting digital rights among children and young people: iRights Youth Juries

HOR-INTERN-2015-03: Understanding Academic Attitudes Towards Social Media Research Ethics