Soc528 Spring 2014 Group Assignment 1 - Privacy and Surveillance in Computer-Mediated Communication

(15% of grade, 5 points for presentation and 10 points for writeup)
15 minute presentations Jan 29 - Feb 3.
3-5 page written report (basically one or two good paragraphs per item) and a list of references is due Monday February 3.

Groups will have class time meet to integrate their individual parts of the assignment. A Your report should be printed and list the contributing members of your group on a cover page. It should also be made available electronically to other members of the class. This can be done by emailing Prof. Perrolle a copy of your report and references or else sending her a url for a publicly viewable copy of the material.

  1. Expectations of Privacy: What privacy do American citizens expect in their communications? What norms, values, and laws are these expectations based on? What about non-citizens' expectations?
  2. Surveillance and Power: Who are the economic stakeholders in the growth of the surveillance industry? Can we expect mass surveillance of citizens to be abused? Why or why not?
  3. Government Surveillance in Public Spaces: What kinds of surveillance of public spaces (both online and off) are being developed and by whom? What should and should not be allowed? Is crowdsourcing surveillance effective?
  4. Government Surveillance of Electronic Communications: What is being done and by whom? Is it actually effective for preventing crime and making us secure? Is it legal? What are it's social costs?
  5. Encryption: Who should be able to use encrypted communication and for what purposes? Do people with nothing to hide need encryption? Is encryption convenient and secure? What role has the NSA played in encryption standards, and with what result?
  6. Corporate Surveillance - Advertising: Email targeted ads, Etags, tracking cookies, spam and corporate speech
  7. Corporate Surveillance - Workplace Surveillance: Are there any expectations of privacy? Does surveillance improve worker productivity?
  8. Corporate Surveillance - Monitoring Customers: What is being done? Is it necessary to prevent theft and and other undesirable behaviors?
  9. Behavioral Effects: Is widespread surveillance an effective means of getting people to behave well in a democracy? Is it effective as a means of security or social control?
  10. Whistleblowers - What are U.S. government policies and laws about whistleblowers? How are they viewed by corporations? What stake do news media have in whistle-blowing? Are whistleblowers heroes or traitors?

Cite your sources.