Digital Footprints, Free Speech, Privacy and Propaganda

Fall 2019, Nov. 6th 1-3PM at Birch Hill,  Manchester, 2 hrs   Short URL to this page:

    Freedom isn't free, and neither is the Internet. Some of the world's largest corporation are stalking you, collecting data and selling access to you (personally) to others, including political campaigns and nation-state propaganda,  To maximize their profit, they seek to dominate your screen time with kittens, fear and outrage. At the same time they censor or de-prioritize content they consider objectionable from hate speech to controversial topics. This class may help you pop your filter bubble and get a better idea of who is doing what to you and why when you are online.

Class Outline (2 Hr program)

  • Paying for the Free Internet (Google, Facebook, etc.) -- the advertising business model and users as products
  • So what does Facebook (et al) know?
  • Tracking you (stalking?) 
  • Engaging the users --- getting your attention, encouraging you to share, keeping you "on site"
  • the Political applications -- 2016, 2020 
    • The Ad archives -- see who's saying what (sort of)
  • Artificial Intelligence -> inference -> influence
    • Deep Fakes -- one of the latest "opportunities"
  • Governmental "interest" (US, China, et al) -- 
    • privacy regulation/protections, anti-trust discussions, 

Syllabus for 5 day program
Digital Tech: Pervasive, Invasive, Persuasive
  1. The Advertising Business Model

    • Tristan Harris Ted TalkHow a handful of tech companies control billions of minds every day-- the "Race to the bottom of the brainstem" (17min)
  2. Following you on the Net -- Digital Footprints
  3. Getting to know you, getting to know all about you
  4. Political Applications
  5. Persuasion in the future
    • The future of free speech -- media control of the messages - censorship & the "public square"
    • Deep fake videos - example thanks to Buzzfeed, "Obama PSA" (faked, 1:12)