Towards E-Society Policy Interoperability for Social Web Networks

Towards E-Society Policy Interoperability for Social Web Networks

Renato Iannella
Copyright: © 2010 |Pages: 17
DOI: 10.4018/jea.2010010102
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The move toward Policy-Oriented Web is destined to provide support for policy expression and management in the core web layers. One of the most promising areas that can drive this new technology adoption is e-Society communities. With so much user-generated content being shared by these social networks, there is the real danger that the implicit sharing rules that communities have developed over time will be lost in translation in the new digital communities. This will lead to a corresponding loss in confidence in e-Society sites. The Policy-Oriented Web attempts to turn the implicit into the explicit with a common framework for policy language interoperability and awareness. This paper reports on the policy driving factors from the Social Networks experiences using real-world use cases and scenarios. In particular, the key functions of policy-awareness—for privacy, rights, and identity—will be the driving force that enables the e-Society to appreciate new interoperable policy regimes.
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2 E-Society Use Case: Social Networks

Social Networks, like FaceBook, Flickr, LinkedIn, Xing, YouTube, and MySpace, have been phenomenally successful. They have achieved this by providing simple yet user empowering features that digitally support the online social experience. In particular, the relative ease of sharing content with close colleagues and friends has driven Social Networks participation. However, this experience can have serious repercussions if the implicit arrangements under which content is shared are not known explicitly, or worse, are not respected.

Two recent examples have highlighted these negative experiences. The first was the use of photographs from Flickr in a commercial advertising program (Cohen, 2007). In this case, the image of a person was used by Virgin Mobile in billboard advertising. They had taken the image from Flickr as the photo owner (the person’s friend) had selected a Creative Commons license that allowed commercial usage. This highlighted two issues; understanding the implications of commercial usage, and publishing images of your friends on public websites. The photo owner had assumed that commercial usage may have enabled him to participate in the financial rewards (it didn’t). His friend who appeared in the photos also had no idea her image was being used, until it was too late (she was not impressed). The lack of understanding the requirement for “model release” permission in the license policy also contributed to this situation.

The second example involved photos from FaceBook being used by the mainstream media to report on the death of a defence force trooper (ABC Media Watch, 2007). The media had used his personal photos from his FaceBook profile - including photos of his family - to print in the national newspapers. At no time did they seek permission to reproduce these images. In some of the media responses to this issue, the assumption was stated that since the photos were on the Internet anyway, they were deemed “public domain” and you could basically do whatever you like with the images with little recourse.

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