The Facebook and Google privacy controversies of Spring 2010 highlighted the gap between technical innovation and user expectations on a global scale, leading representatives of various user constituencies to draft a definitive Social Media Users Bill of Rights for the 21st Century at the Computers, Freedom and Privacy Conference in San Jose, CA.
The idea of a Social Network Users’ Bill of Rights (#billofrights) has been around for years, but no large user set has actually collated the key values and principles that should go into such a Bill of Rights and put them to a world-wide vote – until now. All privacy law is based to some degree on social norms.
The panelists and other representatives of various user constituents drafted a definitive Social Media Users Bill of Rights. This kicked off a conversation between Facebook, the ACLU and others affected by technology’s expansion into daily life. The next step is to debate and have a public vote on it. The voting is open from now until June 15, 2011 – the anniversary of the date the U.S. government asked Twitter to delay its scheduled server maintenance as a critical communication tool for use in the 2009 Iran elections.
As the preamble of the document reads, "We the Users," the “Bill of Rights” document has been released to the public for vetting and debate. This is an important step, both from a future activism and legislative perspective, in the fight to define our digital futures.
Through this discussion, we will explore the evolution of privacy in the digital age, the changing relationship between users and online service providers, and the social, political and cultural ramifications of life in a networked world – and the SXSWi community will have a say in the development of a watershed document for user rights online.
11th–15th March 2011