[Air-l] Deleting Online Predators Act, MySpace and a plea for help

danah boyd aoir.z3z at danah.org
Thu May 25 14:51:21 PDT 2006

Henry Jenkins and i co-authored an interview essay based on questions  
from the MIT News Office to address concerns related to the proposed  
American law entitled Deleting Online Predators Act (DOPA).  We  
recognize that parents and legislators are concerned, but we do not  
believe that DOPA is the best approach and we fear that, if  
implemented, it will cause more harm than good.  We conducted this  
interview in the hopes that it provides valuable information for  
parents, legislators and press who are interested in the issue.


I believe that this topic affects our research community as a whole.   
The proposed law affects most Internet communities, including  
chatrooms, mailing lists, photo sharing sites, gaming environments  
and social network sites.  It is also a slippery slope legislative  
piece, working to give American legislators more control over who  
participates online, in what ways and where.  Collectively, we have a  
lot of knowledge about this terrain and the positive aspects of  
digital culture. This needs to be surfaced publicly in order to  
combat the culture of fear.  I know that most of you aren't obsessing  
about MySpace as much as i am, but i believe that what is happening  
with MySpace will affect many of us on this list.

Finally, as researchers, we're often faced with how press cover this  
terrain and we're often asked to speak out as experts.  For better or  
worse, i've become a press puppet on all things MySpace and i'm tired  
of seeing myself in print.  I also believe that there are other  
voices that need to be heard, other relevant academic knowledge that  
needs to be elevated.  I have to imagine that there are other  
academics who could join me in addressing the press and combatting  
the fears the public has over how people use technology.  If you are  
interested in speaking to the press about these issues, please let me  
know.  In particular, i'm especially looking for other researchers  
who have expertise in digital youth, online/offline sociability,  
online dating, risk assessment, reputation costs, gaming, blogging  
and anything else you might be seeing the press cover right now under  
the fear category.  I know that public-facing academic engagement is  
controversial, but i'm definitely in the camp which says, "I am  
obliged to contribute. Silence is complicity" (Diane Bell, "Writing  
in the eye of a storm").  My hope is that others are interested in  
helping combat the fear-mongering with all of the knowledge that we  
have about this domain.


- - - - - - - - - - d a n a h ( d o t ) o r g - - - - - - - - - -
"taken out of context i must seem so strange"

musings :: http://www.zephoria.org/thoughts

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