Call for Feedbacks on “Guidelines for the use of new media by the public in crisis situations”

COSMIC project, funded by the European Commission under the Seventh Framework Programme (FP7), is waiting for your feedback on its recent “Guidelines for the use of new media by the public in crisis situations”.

The draft report provides guidelines that citizens may help in the optimal use of social media during crisis situations. Tips and tricks are formulated for the different roles that citizens can take during crises. Aim of the guidelines is to improve social media usage during crisis situations in order to make citizens more self-reliant and consequently increase their safety and security. Guidelines specially aimed at governmental authorities and private organizations are in preparation.

The guidelines can be viewed here.

We would like to invite practitioners in the field of crisis and emergency management, social media experts, (social) scientists and social media users to provide feedback on the first version of the guidelines. Feel free to provide your feedback on COSMIC LinkedIn page or below as a comment.

We appreciate your help!

Introducing a “multidimensional privacy attitudes scale”

As one of our first research project in SIMLAB (founded in late 2012), we (Lemi Baruh & Zeynep Cemalcılar) had been working on developing a multidimensional privacy orientation scale. The scale is summarised in an article published in November 2014 in Personality and Individual Differences.

The article reports that individuals’ decisions about level of privacy they need is determined not only by concern about themselves but also concern about privacy of other individuals:

  • There are four distinction dimensions of privacy:  (1) belief in the value of “privacy as a right”; (2) “other-contingent privacy”; (3) “concern about own informational privacy” and (4) “concern about privacy of others.”
  • A segmentation of users in terms of these four dimensions of privacy points to three distinct types of users: 1) privacy advocates,who are concerned about both their own and other people’s privacy; (2) privacy individualists, who are concerned mostly about their own privacy, and (3) privacy indifferents, whose score on all dimensions are lower than other segments.User segments are privacy advocates, privacy individualists, privacy indifferents.
  • Users who value others’ privacy are less likely to invade informational privacy.
  • Privacy individualists use social network sites for satisfying voyeuristic curiosity.
  • Reciprocating disclosure is more likely for privacy advocates than for individualists.

The multidimensional scale has 18 items, all measured using a 5-point likert scale (ranging from strongly disagree to strongly agree):

Dimension 1: Privacy as a Right

  • Privacy laws should be strengthened to protect personal privacy.
  • People need legal protection against misuse of personal data.
  • If I were to write a constitution today, I would probably add privacy as a fundamental right.

Dimension 2: Concern about Own Informational Privacy

  • When I share the details of my personal life with somebody, I often worry that he/she will tell those details to other people.
  • I am concerned that people around me know too much about me.
  • I am concerned with the consequences of sharing identity information
  • I worry about sharing information with more people than I intend to.

Dimension 3: Other-Contingent Privacy

  • If somebody is not careful about protecting their own privacy, I cannot trust them about respecting mine.
  • If I am to enjoy some privacy in my life, I need my friends to be careful about protecting their privacy as well.
  • I could never trust someone as my confidant if they go around sharing details about their own private lives.
  • The level of privacy that I can enjoy depends on the extent to which people around me protect their own privacy.

Dimension 4: Concern about Privacy of Others

  • It is important for me to respect the privacy of individuals, even if they are not careful about protecting their own privacy.
  • I value other people’s privacy as much as I value mine
  • Even when somebody is not careful about his/her privacy, I do my best to respect that person’s privacy
  • I always do my best not to intrude into other people’s private lives
  • Respect for others’ privacy should be an important priority in social relations

Please feel free to use (and/or translate) scale. We would appreciate it greatly if you could notify us about an translation of the scale.

Citation information: 

Baruh, Lemi, and Zeynep Cemalcılar. 2014. “It Is More than Personal: Development and Validation of a Multidimensional Privacy Orientation Scale.” Personality and Individual Differences 70 (November). Elsevier Ltd: 165–70. doi:10.1016/j.paid.2014.06.042.

“Involving Citizens In Emergency Preparedness And Response” Workshop In Istanbul

Cosmic Logo

The tentative schedule for the COSMIC “Involving Citizens in Emergency Preparedness and Response Workshop”, to be held in Istanbul is now ready. 

Involving Citizens in Emergency Preparedness and Response
International Workshop
Location: Koç University Research Center for Anatolian Civilizations, Istanbul
Date: September 4, 2014; Thursday

For further information about the workshop, please click here or here

If you are interested in attending the conference, please register from this link. Registration is free.

COSMIC Report on Citizens’ Involvement in Crises

COSMIC (Contribution of Social Media in Crisis Management) project partners MixLab at Koç University and Hellenic Rescue Team has drafted a report on Citizens’ Involvement in Emergency Communications. The report seeks to examine the various roles that citizens may have in communications during emergencies. Also, the report maps the relationship between the use of different types of media and communication technologies—including mass media, as well as new media technologies—and citizens’ involvement in emergency communications as,

  1. potential or actual volunteers (first responders) who may aid emergency response and rescue;
  2. as social activists who may utilise online networks to organise, coordinate, collaborate or mobilise during political crises; and
  3. as citizens who report on emergencies and political crises.

With respect to the role that citizens may play as first responders, the report focuses on how various communication media are utilised by response organisations and government agencies to identify, recruit, network with and train citizens.  In order to accomplish this goal, the partners engaged in an in-depth analysis of citizen awareness programs and volunteer recruitment and training processes in four different countries:  Turkey, Italy, United Kingdom, and Greece.

The report also discusses social activism as a form of citizen involvement in crises (predominantly political crises). Particularly, the section on social activism discusses  how social activist formations use media to recruit members and/or form networks, communicate ideas, and coordinate action.

Finally, regarding the role that citizens can play as reporters/journalists during emergencies and crises, discuss  issues related to news selection processes, types of coverage (commentary vs. news), types of sources used by citizen journalists and citizen journalists’ perceptions regarding issues like reliability of information. In order to do so, the report summarises findings from  a content analysis of the articles published by citizens who reported about four emergencies/crises and online interviews conducted with a sample of citizens whose reports were content analysed.

Click Here for a copy of the report.

2013 /LB//PRTL in review

The WordPress.com stats  helpers prepared a 2013 annual report for this blog. Thanks to all visitors. Happy 2014 (and more).

Here’s an excerpt:

The concert hall at the Sydney Opera House holds 2,700 people. This blog was viewed about 17,000 times in 2013. If it were a concert at Sydney Opera House, it would take about 6 sold-out performances for that many people to see it.

Click here to see the complete report.

Call for Papers: Involving Citizens in Emergency Preparedness and Response

Involving Citizens in Emergency Preparedness and Response

International Conference
Location: Koç University Research Center for Anatolian Civilizations, Istanbul
Date: September 4, 2014; Thursday

New communication technologies play an increasingly important role during emergencies and crises, such as natural and man made disasters and political crises. Particularly social media can potentially enable citizens to more quickly share information, assist response and recovery in emergencies, and mobilize for action in political crises.

This conference will examine the role of citizens as first responders, social activists, and citizen journalists at times of emergencies and crises and will focus on practical, theoretical, and ethical issues related to citizen participation in emergency/crisis response/communication. The conference will result in a set of guidelines for citizens, government authorities, first responders and industry for the most effective use of ICTs to aid citizen security during crises.

Possible topics include, but are not limited to:

  • The role that conventional media and social media may play in recruitment and training of emergency response volunteers
  • Community involvement in emergency response planning
  • Social activism, mobilization, and social media
  • Citizen journalism and social media (e.g., reporting processes, threats to citizen journalists involved in coverage of emergencies, information verification)

Selected papers from the conference will be published in the Interactions: Studies in Communication & Culture journal (published by Intellect Books).

Submission Information:

  • Full Papers: Submit a 500 word maximum proposal and a short author biography to Mr. Mert Bal hbal13@ku.edu.tr
  • PechaKucha Poster Papers: Submit a 250 word maximum proposal and a short author biography to Mr. Mert Bal hbal13@ku.edu.tr

 Key Dates:

  • Deadline for Submissions: February 14, 2014
  • Announcement of Decisions Regarding the Submissions: March 15, 2014
  • Announcement of the Workshop Programme: May 15, 2014
  • Registration (free): May 15, 2014 – July 15, 2014
  • Submission of Full Paper (format to be announced later): August 15, 2014

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Faculty Positions at the Department of Media and Visual Arts

Koç University, Department of Media and Visual Arts invites applications for full-time faculty positions of any rank (beginning September 2014) specializing in one of the following areas:

Position #1 Media/Communication Studies: The successful candidates should have demonstrated research experience and teaching interest in one (or a combination) of media audiences, media institutions, broadcasting, new media technologies or social media. Expertise in quantitative research methods will be considered a plus.

Position #2 Strategic Communications/Media Management: The successful candidates should specialize in one (or a combination) of public relations, advertising, marketing communications, media planning, media economics, or communication campaign management. Previous professional experience in a related field will be considered a plus.

Successful candidates will have the opportunity to contribute to the development of the department. He or she will be expected to teach two courses per semester (two semesters per year) and is expected to have an active research, agenda. At the time of employment, candidates should have a PhD.

The Department of Media and Visual Arts at Koç University, founded in 2010, offers an interdisciplinary curriculum that emphasizes communications theory, media/arts management, and production. In 2013, students enrolled at the Department of Media and Visual Arts were ranked at or above the 98th percentile of the Central University Placement Exams in Turkey. More information about the Department of Media and Visual Arts is available from mava.ku.edu.tr.

Located in Istanbul, Turkey, Koc University is a highly reputable foundation English-instruction university. Times Higher Education ranks Koç University as 31st in the world among Universities that are younger 50 years old. More information about Koc University is available at http://www.ku.edu.tr/en.

Applicants can submit applications electronically to the e-mail address below, by December 15, 2013:

  • Cover letter
  • Curriculum vitae
  • Summary statement of teaching
  • Research statement
  • Three letters of reference (The referees should directly e-mail a signed PDF copy of the reference letter to the e-mail address below. The referee should insert the following in the e-mail subject line: “Reference for <Applicant Name>, <Applicant Last Name>”

To Ms. Gizem Bekil

E-mail: gbekil@ku.edu.tr

Subject line of application e-mail: “Position in Media and Visual Arts”

Fulltext of New Article on Privacy Protection in Mobile Environments

A new article entitled “Captive But Mobile: Privacy Concerns and Remedies for the Mobile Environment” is now published in The Information Society 

Authors: Mihaela Popescu (California State University, San Bernardino) and Lemi Baruh (Koç University, Istanbul)

Abstract
We use the legal framework of captive audience to examine the Federal Trade Commission’s 2012 privacy guidelines as applied to mobile marketing. We define captive audiences as audiences without functional opt-out mechanisms to avoid situations of coercive communication. By analyzing the current mobile marketing ecosystem, we show that the Federal Trade Commission’s privacy guidelines inspired by the Canadian “privacy by design” paradigm fall short of protecting consumers against invasive mobile marketing in at least three respects: (a) the guidelines overlook how, in the context of data monopolies, the combination of location and personal history data threatens autonomy of choice; (b) the guidelines focus exclusively on user control over data sharing, while ignoring control over communicative interaction; (c) the reliance on market mechanisms to produce improved privacy policies may actually increase opt-out costs for consumers. We conclude by discussing two concrete proposals for improvement: a “home mode” for mobile privacy and target-specific privacy contract negotiation.
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Call for Applications in 2013 Fall PhD Studentships in Design, Technology and Society,

In December, we will be admitting a small number of doctoral students into our program.The program is suitable for research at the intersection of issues related to design, technology and society (see details in http://dts.ku.edu.tr).

Important Dates for 2013 Fall (PhD Program only)

  • October 25 th, 2013 is the last day for negotiation appointments with faculty members
  • December 27th, 2013 is on-line submission deadline for application documents
  • 2013 Fall ALES applications: September 11- 20, 2013
  • 201 3 Fall ALES exam date: November 17, 2013

I will also be looking for suitable candidates for this program for the following research areas:

  • Social media and online socialisation
  • Social media in Crisis Management
  • Use of social media and ICTs in healthcare sector

What Your Communication Metadata Says About You?

A few weeks ago, when information about the National Security Agency’s (U.S.) phone surveillance program surfaced, the U.S. President Obama was quick to announce that “nobody is listening to your telephone calls”. It was rather a little “harmless” system that collected metadata about individuals’ phone calls.

We have been hearing similar claims about electronic surveillance systems lately. For example, the “don’t be evil” company Google attempts to comfort us that their e-mail surveillance system is not creepy by saying that:

Ad targeting in Gmail is fully automated, and no humans read your email or Google Account information in order to show you advertisements or related information.

So no peeping tom is reading your e-mails, Google says. And that should be enough to comfort you about the privacy of your e-mails. Or is it?

The problem is, often, metadata says more about an individual than once can ever imagine. As EFF has recently put it, it may even say more about a person than the actual content of a phone call (or an e-mail):

Sorry, your phone records—oops, “so-called metadata”—can reveal a lot more about the content of your calls than the government is implying. Metadata provides enough context to know some of the most intimate details of your lives.  And the government has given no assurances that this data will never be correlated with other easily obtained data. They may start out with just a phone number, but a reverse telephone directory is not hard to find. Given the public positions the government has taken on location information, it would be no surprise if they include location information demands in Section 215 orders for metadata.

However, as I said, it may often be very difficult to imagine what your communication metadata says about you. And the good folks at MIT come to the rescue. They created a very simple visualization tool that demonstrates how companies or the government can make inferences about your relationships based on your contacts in e-mail. The tool is called Immersion.

You can link your Gmail accounts to MIT’s “Immersion” tool here and see what comes up.

Mine is below (contacts anonymized, of course)

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