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2013 Brockington Visitorship Public Lecture
Professor of Media, Culture and Communication, and Computer Science
New York University
Euphoria over massive open online courses (MOOCs) is rampant. Darlings of the news media, even the most prestigious universities in the United States and elsewhere seem unable to resist. Nowhere in public discussions of this remarkable phenomenon, however, is the specter of privacy raised. In her lecture, Helen Nissenbaum will explore what is at stake when the privacy of students in these online courses is ignored. Drawing on contextual integrity, and a contextual approach to privacy online, she will present guiding principles for assuring adequate privacy protection in MOOCs. The need for establishing appropriate constraints on collection, flow, and use of students’ information is urgent as we anticipate that massive online courses are merely the vanguard of an inevitable movement toward large scale, algorithmically based, educational offerings online. At stake are not merely pedagogical goals but values of a flourishing educational sphere in liberal democratic societies.
Helen Nissenbaum is Professor of Media, Culture and Communication, and Computer Science, at New York University, where she is also Director of the Information Law Institute. Her areas of expertise span social, ethical, and political implications of information technology and digital media. She has written and edited four books, including Privacy in Context: Technology, Policy, and the Integrity of Social Life, which was published in 2010 by Stanford University Press.
Nissenbaum holds a Ph.D. in philosophy from Stanford University and a B.A. (Hons) from the University of the Witwatersrand. Before joining the faculty at NYU, she served as Associate Director of the Center for Human Values at Princeton University.
Reception to follow.
Presented by Queen’s Surveillance Studies Centre, with support from the Senate Committee on Creative Arts and Public Lectures.