An Ethical Framework – For the Deconstructionist in You.

Q2 has quickly put into relief that make faster can be at the expense of think deeply. Or it can certainly feel that way. It’s pushing me to make and think and make and think faster than I feel capable of. In the last two weeks, our conversation and readings in Design Ethics have revolved around Privacy & Identity. My ability to learn new concepts (decentralized identity?) has been challenged by a more central question I have around how identity is defined in digital environments.

I wanted to present in class tonight about Amber Heard’s thoughtful NYT opinion piece in the attempt of answering the question, why does privacy matter? We’ve asked, a number of times, whether it really matters that a company knows where I am or what I like to buy. A position that, I believe, is fundamentally born from privilege. If we remove ourselves from the equation to consider this more objectively, we can see who else might be more at risk here.

The threat of revenge porn, or nonconsensual image sharing, is an enormous advantage for a person engaged in domestic abuse. According to a 2016 study from the Data & Society Research Institute, this threat is far greater among younger women and the LGB community.

And then I got stumped. I don’t know if this is a trustworthy white paper. I don’t actually know how to interpret quant data – it’s a language I can’t get into. Do I look at this through the lens of power and privilege? Am I already doing that? Do I look at this through the lens of impact over time and scale? Risk and consequence? Also, I still don’t really know what blockchain is or cryptography or RFID. I want to know more about the internet of things and predictive analytics. All topics we’ve brushed against that will be important to understand as I head into the future, never mind this field.

Ethical lenses to consider

In the absence of a baseline level of knowledge, I’m skimming the surface of the Fourth Revolution I didn’t even know I was in. What feels accessible to me – what feels like something I can unpack – are words like identity and privacy and trust. I need to zoom in before I can zoom out. I need to be in language I can hold.

Which led me to this: a strong opinion, loosely held.

The Deconstructionist

It felt important to articulate a way forward, to cutback through the swamp of new information to first, locate self. In the quick clip that is Q2, I felt like I was losing grasp of this. The framework, as presented, is informed by the personal drivers exercise we did at the outset of this course – borrowed from Pivot by Jenny Blake. The principles that inform this framework are borrowed from The People’s Institute for Survival & Beyond as well as dRworks free resource in understanding and dismantling characteristics of white supremacy culture.

All that being said, loosely held is the operative term here. I would love to be challenged to consider what else might be true and welcome any feedback you might have.