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Privacy on the Internet

Mobile apps, social networks, internet service providers, phone networks, and others online collect as much as they can in order to monetize such data. The lectures and screenings and readings for 85c touch on privacy as a contentious issue in media studies, including but not limited to questions regarding customer approval (explicit opt-in or opt-out, vs covert or implicit aggregation), advertising models, data security, etc. On one side, you have online media collecting copious amounts of customer information (device identifiers, advertising identifiers, location data, user interests, content you create, etc). On the other side, you have advocates calling for the protection of personally identifiable information (your contacts, location, interests, and other behavioral data, your household information, date and place of birth, etc). Regulatory frameworks differ in stipulating how consumers should be able to exercise certain rights in their interactions with media platforms, but they serve us as starting points for considering consumer privacy protections. Inversely, regulatory frameworks also stipulate that a business is allowed to collect and use personal information to provide the core functionality of a service or application.

This group project will have you team up to research, present, and debate the most salient aspects of consumer privacy online. Documenting each of the three steps will earn your group academic credit in this class. Each step will take place partly in the 85C discussion sections and partly in between meetings.

Each 85C discussion section will be divided into four groups for this project. Groups 1a and 1b will research, present, and debate a Californian case (or an international app hoping to do business in in California); groups 2a and 2b will study a European case (or an international app hoping to do business in Europe). Groups 1a and 2a will act as lobbyists for an app (which could be a real or imaginary game, dating app, or messaging service); groups 1b and 2b will act as policy advisers advocating privacy protections via regulations.

Group 2a: You are industry lobbyists trying to convince a European Legislature of your position (your classmates are European politicians). As you define your position, please refer to the GDPR. What does the imposition of these regulations mean to your users, to the cost of your app, to your online advertising business model? Present your most persuasive arguments against regulation.

Sample Solution

children speak in different ways to the adults around them. If children learn by imitating what they hear and by incorrect sounds or sentences not being reinforced, why do children say such things such as ‘wented’ instead of ‘went’? (Foster-Cohen, 2009). Skinner’s theory also doesn’t explain how children learn the rules of language in such a way that they are quickly able to make up their own sentences. Learning through imitation and reinforcement would mean that children would only be repeating what they have heard, rather than being able to invent their own sentences (Saxton, 2010). Noam Chomsky’s carried out some work on the development of language(1928) and he believes the idea that our ability to learn language is innate. This is a nature/nativist theory. His theory has been generally acknowledged, completely contrasting Skinner’s ideas, as it explains why majority of babies’ language development follows a specific pattern. He became well known because of his suggestion, that all humans have a Language Acquisition Device (LAD) which they are born with. This is not an actual physical part of the brain, but a structure within our brains that allows babies to absorb and understand the rules of the language they are being exposed to (Breedlove & Watson, 2013) (Tassoni, 2014). The brain can actually examine the language, this is a very complex process but it helps us to understand why children can understand and then use their language correctly and so quickly, without even knowing the rules of the language (grammar). The Language Acquisition Device proves that pretty much all babies can learn any language that they are being exposed to and why all babies follow the same pattern of development even though their abilities may be very different (Eysenck & Keane, 2015).

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