Soc528 Fall 2014 Group Assignment 1 - Power in Computer-Mediated Communication

(15% of grade)
15 minute presentations M Sept 22 - W Oct 1.
Slides and a list of references is due in electronic form Th Oct 2.

Groups will have class time meet to integrate their individual parts of the assignment. You must turn in (in electronic form) should also be made available electronically to other members of the class. This can be done by emailing Prof. Perrolle a copy of your slides, a list of people participating in the project, and a list of references that can be clicked on or copied into a browser.

  1. Normative Power - 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? What are the values of stakeholders trying to reduce or enhance privacy?
  2. Coercive Power - 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?
  3. Coercive Power - Government Surveillance of Electronic Communications: What is being done and by whom? Who are the economic stakeholders in the growth of the surveillance industry? Is it actually effective for preventing crime and making us secure? Is it legal? What are it's social costs?
  4. 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?
  5. Economic Power- Advertising and Customer Monitoring: Email targeted ads, Etags, tracking cookies, spam and corporate speech
  6. Economic and Coercive Power - Workplace Surveillance: Are there any expectations of privacy? Does surveillance improve worker productivity?
  7. Economic and Coercive Power - Net Neutrality: Are practices like deep packet inspection and traffic slowdowns consistent with US laws and beliefs, effective for higher profits, better customer sevice, and detection of wrong-doers? Do they inhibit innovation?
  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. Normative Power: Social media - open government, tweeting disasters, online social movements, use of social media and mobile communications to organize protests, document law enforcement behavior, find (or falsely accuse?) people with bad behavior, etc.

Cite your sources. Try to locate and present information that will help others in the class write essay 2.