Networked Media - Week 6

13 Jun 2017

In Surveillance and Capture, Two Models of Privacy, Philip Agre expands on Deleuze's critique of Foucault's Panopticon in light of the digital age. Agre discusses the surveillence model and the capture model, where the latter "understands information to go in many directions, and for many purposes." The capture model, which includes website cookies, structural metadata, and personal information management (PIM) systems, casts a wide net in tracking large amounts of seemingly banal data, and then using that to look for abnormal patterns. One problem in this approach is that abnormal patterns do not equate to wrongful behavior. Not to mention problems around who decides what is abnormal.

In Beyond the Mirror World: Privacy and the Representational Practices of Computing, Agre continues the examination of "representing activity" in computational systems to show how seeminly agnostic data produced by computations can be used to serve vested interests. Agre gives the example of California's on-board diagnostic system that sends an alert when a car fails to meet the state's emission standards. Agre notes, "The ARB system is presumably intended to be used only for its stated purpose, ensuring compliance with emissions regulations. The fact is, though, that the system as specified could easily be used to track the location of every car that is equipped with it." Examples like these make it clear that, if such technologoical measure are put in place, there needs to be clear data security and oversight measures in place to ensure that consumer privacy is not violated.


For my midterm, I made a database for digitized library collections that allows users to upload files, attach metadata, and search and retrieve items. Here's the homepage, I'm having trouble doing list comprehension in reverse order using EJS template to show the 3 most recently added items.

And here's the upload page. I used Formidable for the file uploads.

And here's the Browse Items/Search Results page.

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