As part of Mozilla’s Internet Health Training at OpenDott, one of the questions posed was as follows
‘what part of your research would benefit from being opened? Remember, it’s not all or nothing. Considering timing, target contributors, and manageable chunks.’ This question, to me, seemed the most relevant. We live in interesting times – A time of Soshanna Zuboff’s surveillance capitalism, a time of activism – of Black Lives Matter and The Occupy Movement, a time of whistleblowers – of Edward Snowden and Julian Assange, a time of social media and the citizen journalism – we can all be watchdogs!
Reflections on Openness in IoT
I am thinking about IoT whistleblowers and watchdogs, communities that are watching and critiquing surveillance capitalism. Today, with the internet and social media, we all have a role to play in shaping and discussing the future of the IoT. We don’t have a strong vision for good IoT and there is a big gap between citizens and policymakers. In 2020, I conducted research with five participants across the UK to understand meanings of trust in the IoT. The research revealed that a commonly used adjective to describe the IoT was ‘creepy’. Let us open up this question – what makes the IoT creepy? I used the Open Canvas to detail out my concept for a github page to collectively curate examples of creepy IoT encounters.
I was inspired by three sources
Daviddao’s github project awful-ai which is ‘a curated list to track current scary usages of AI – hoping to raise awareness to its misuses in society’ (https://github.com/daviddao/awful-ai).
Mozilla’s *privacynotincluded which is a guide to help shop for safe and secure connected products (https://foundation.mozilla.org/en/privacynotincluded/products/nintendo-switch/)
The Electronic and Privacy Foundation’s letter to Attorney General Loretta Lynch ‘regarding the growing number of “always on” consumer devices that surreptitiously record the communications of consumers in their homes and may constitute unlawful surveillance under federal wiretap law.’ (https://epic.org/privacy/internet/ftc/EPIC-Letter-FTC-AG-Always-On.pdf )
I created a github repository… https://github.com/namrataprimlani/creepyIoT
Reflections – Umberto Eco and the Open Work
In The Open Work, Umberto Eco talks about how a music composer’s work is always open to interpretation and ‘unfinished’. Eco talks about the importance of multiplicity and plurality in openness. The github repository ‘creepyIoT’ is meant to be viewed through this lens. It is an endeavour in opening up the plurality of meaning on the word ‘creepy’ in the context of the IoT – the power of collective interpretation and the multiplicity of meaning.