Social Networking • David Smith,Deputy Commissioner for the Information Commissioner's Office • “Many young people are posting content online without thinking about the electronic footprint they leave behind. The cost to a persons future can be very high if something undesirable is found by the increasing number of educational institutions and employers using the internet as a tool to vet potential students or employees”
Advisory, Conciliation and Arbitration Service ACAS • ACAS research paper on workplaces and social networking, suggests that over a quarter of UK employers use social media to vet job applicants • Currently no legislation in UK prohibiting employers considering information contained on applicants social networking profiles when making a recruitment decision
'End of Anonymity' New Scientist, 26th Oct 2013 • What happens when we can no longer hide who we are on line? • Nicola Brookes, 45, from Brighton, received vicious verbal attack via internet • She had simply challenged the conduct of internet trolls who ganged up on a minor celebrity becoming victim of two year campaign of harrassment • Not everyone can stand up to such an attack...it has driven some to suicide • Called online toxic disinhibition effect • A basic fact of internet life, online no one knows who you are • NB says “A lot of people wouldn't say things to other peoples' faces that they do on the screen”
Actions separated from their consequences • 1976 study by psychologist Ed Diener demonstrated that trick- or- treaters whose faces were hidden by masks stole more sweets, given the opportunity, from the houses they visited at Halloween • Hiding behind screen names has serious drawbacks: reduction of our psychological barriers to abuse and incite others, including carrying out racist and sexist attacks • Adam Johnson, University of the West of England, Bristol says “There's lots of evidence that being linked to a real name changes people's behaviour
2007, law introduced in South Korea requiring all websites with over 300,000 viewers to register using ID or credit card • Year later study showed abuse and venom had dropped by just 0.9% • Those who wanted to post anonymously simply fled to international sites where law didn't apply • Government dropped the measure • NB says “one reason real name policies are less effective than you might expect may be the flimsy, quick and easy sign up procedures” • Disposable email addresses are easy to set up to comment on a news site, no one checks whether the name you provide is real. All my trolls have fake Hotmail email addresses”
Study last year by Noam Lapidot-Lefler and Azy Barak at Haifa University set out to pick apart what it is about anonymity that causes people to behave antisocially • Found it was eye contact more than knowing someone's name that decreased conflict • If we feel we are being watched, we are a lot less likely to transgress social norms, cheat, litter or steal • Doesn't have to be real eyes looking at you • Ryan McKay an evolutionary psychologist at Royal Holloway, University of London says It’s not just eyes that trigger this response. The key seems to be anything that triggers feelings of identifiability
Camera induced coyness • Interviews with young people reported all kinds of activities like hiding cigarettes or beer bottles behind backs when a photo's being taken out of fear that the photo will be uploaded to Facebook • The thought of being identifiable, it seems is a powerful deterrent
Biometrics • For the first time the device you use to access internet will form an unbreakable link connecting you with all your pseudonymous online activity • This could have a profound consequence for the way we conduct ourselves online • Have we thought through the consequences of the loss of anonymity and privacy that the widespread adoption of biometric checking will bring? • Biometric checking such as fingerprint scanning used in many schools in UK so children can claim their school meal • Do you know what will happen to the fingerprints when child leaves? • Who else will have access to this data?