‘We’ll be like Adam and Eve biting the apple, and suddenly realizing that we’re naked’

This was a draft post from July 2010. At the time it was prompted by yet another Facebook privacy scare (‘Facebook data harvester speaks out‘) but it’s more and more relevant each day. The quote was such a succinct summary of the state of privacy and social media that I had to share it: ‘we’ll be like Adam and Eve biting the apple, and suddenly realizing that we’re naked’.

It’s from Perspective: Carnegie Mellon’s Jesse Schell on Mobile and the Art of Game Design:

I’ve been thinking a lot about augmented reality. I’ve been thinking about how very soon all the scattered data about us on the web will be consolidated in ways that will shock us. Someone will hold their smartphone up as they walk by my car, my house, or my person, and suddenly get information about my life, my interests, and my family. This is going to make us feel like our privacy has been violated, even though no new data is being shared — rather, the old data that is already out there on Facebook and on the web is going to be consolidated in unexpected ways. We’ll be like Adam and Eve biting the apple, and suddenly realizing that we’re naked.

BBC: “Aboriginal archive offers new DRM”

A new method of digital rights management (DRM) which relies on a user’s profile has been pioneered by Aboriginal Australians.

The Mukurtu Wumpurrarni-kari Archive has been developed by a community based in Australia’s Northern Territory.

It asks every person who logs in for their name, age, sex and standing within their community.

This information then restricts what they can search for in the archive, offering a new take on DRM

It’s a fascinating example of how real world community practice can be translated into online viewing. As the article says, “[f]or example, men cannot view women’s rituals, and people from one community cannot view material from another without first seeking permission. Meanwhile images of the deceased cannot be viewed by their families.” This has been an issue for Australian museums in the past and it’ll be interesting to see if this ‘DRM’ solution is adopted more widely.

BBC: Aboriginal archive offers new DRM

Brooklyn Museum announce ArtShare on Facebook

From the post announcing it, ArtShare on Facebook!:

What can you do with ArtShare? Well, you can select works from the Brooklyn Museum collection to display on your profile. But then, because social networking is about connecting and seeing what others contribute to the social fabric, anyone can also use ArtShare to upload their own work and share it with others. You can use ArtShare to select a wide variety of work, then each time your profile is loaded a different work will be displayed at random from your selections.

They contacted contemporary artists who still held copyright over their works and asked if they would give their permission for this use. They’ve even offered their application functionality to other museums:

If you work at another institution and want to share your museum’s collection this way, we can set you up with your own tab in ArtShare. When we set this up for you, your institution’s logo will be displayed alongside the works that you upload, so they are easily identifiable as being a part of your collection.

So congratulations to Mike Dillon and Shelley Bernstein at the Brooklyn Museum, and thank you for letting us know so that we all get to learn from your experience.

(Actually I’ve just noticed one problem – given the recent fuss about Facebook, advertising, applications and privacy, I wanted to read the application Terms of Service, but you have to add the application to read them, so you have to agree to them before you’ve read them. It’s not a criticism of their application as I’m sure this isn’t specific to ArtShare but I guess it does show that concerns over Facebook’s privacy model are going to affect how cultural institutions engage with it.)