MySpace and the Deleting Online Predators Act

Received this email from the AOIR and felt I should share it because of the MySpace concerns I’ve blogged about. It is, like I am, more in favor of technological literacy and the First Amendment rather than being scared of the site, exploiting that fear, and focusing only on the people who use it for lewd reasons.

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.

Dennis has also had some great posts regarding MySpace up lately. This one in particular, but the others are under the social software category.

Would write more on this but still trying to digest it all and need to get updating the i-pod [new Pet Shop Boys album, you know!] and packing.

More around mid-June, unless I sneak a few posts in the next 24 hours…

2 thoughts on “MySpace and the Deleting Online Predators Act

  1. Daisy, it’s always like this with technology. It’s just shifted from television to the Internet. You’re right, though, the consequences of designing legislation that is ostensibly intended to protect are far reaching, and not just for academics. We live in, like you wrote, a culture of fear: Fear of terrorism, fear of immigrants, fear of predators, and our legislators use these issues to strip away our rights by convincing us that they will be the ones to protect us. Everything is an election issue because neither party knows their constituents. When they’re not convincing Americans in Kansas and Omaha that Mexicans are taking their jobs and opportunities, politicians are talking about the luridness that the Internet has to offer.

Leave a Reply