Rethinking Privacy and Freedom of Expression in the Digital Era: An Interview with Mark Andrejevic

Troullinou, Pinelopi (2017). Rethinking Privacy and Freedom of Expression in the Digital Era: An Interview with Mark Andrejevic. Westminster Papers in Communication and Culture, 12(3) pp. 72–77.

DOI: https://doi.org/10.16997/wpcc.270

URL: https://www.westminsterpapers.org/articles/10.1699...

Abstract

Mark Andrejevic, Professor of Media Studies at the Pomona College in Claremont, California, is a distinguished critical theorist exploring issues around surveillance from pop culture to the logic of automated, predictive surveillance practices. In an interview with WPCC issue co-editor Pinelopi Troullinou, Andrejevic responds to pressing questions emanating from the surveillant society looking to shift the conversation to concepts of data holders’ accountability. He insists on the need to retain awareness of power relations in a data driven society highlighting the emerging challenge, ‘to provide ways of understanding the long and short term consequences of data driven social sorting’. Within the context of Snowden’s revelations and policy responses worldwide he recommends a shift of focus from discourses surrounding ‘pre-emption’ to those of ‘prevention’ also questioning the notion that citizens might only need to be concerned, ‘if we are doing something “wrong”’ as this is dependent on a utopian notion of the state and commercial processes, ‘that have been purged of any forms of discrimination’. He warns of multiple concerns of misuse of data in a context where ‘a total surveillance society looks all but inevitable’. However, the academy may be in a unique position to provide ways of reframing the terms of discussions over privacy and surveillance via the analysis of ‘the long and short term consequences of data driven social sorting (and its automation)’ and in particular of algorithmic accountability.

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