Guest speaker discusses issues of privacy

Thursday, March 31, at 4p.m., guest speaker Helen Nissenbaum discussed the issues of privacy with a room of sociology majors, professors, an audio and visual crew and members of SurPriSe in Elliot Hall’s lecture room.

Helen Nissenbaum is a senior faculty fellow and professor of culture, communication and media science at New York University.

This lecture was sponsored by the School of Business Administration Center for Integrated Business Research and Education and the decision and information sciences department, the College of Arts and Sciences’ Frontiers and Borders and the sociology and anthropology, communication and journalism departments, and SurPriSe, a multi-disciplinary group of OU faculty from fields such as philosophy, engineering, health sciences and business that explore surveillance, privacy and security.

Tom Lauer, a member of SurPriSe and a professor in the sociology department, was responsible for putting on the lecture. Lauer was interested in Nissenbaum and after reading “Privacy in Context: Technology, Policy, and the Integrity of Social Life”, one of the four books she had written and edited, Lauer thought having Nissenbaum as a guest would be beneficial.  He reached out to her she “graciously agreed” to being a guest at OU.

Lauer has also used Nissenbaum’s book as tool in his Information Privacy class. Although he wished the turnout had been greater, Lauer said he was happy with the outcome of the lecture and that it was informational and thought provoking.

Most of the students in attendance were sociology majors and were there for extra credit and took notesto prove they were there but the irony of this “forced” or “incentive” lecture was that a large number of them that attended said they were pleased and interested by the discussion.

Luckily, the students and Professor Tom Lauer weren’t the only ones pleased with the outcome of the lecture.

Helen Nissenbaum said that she was very impressed with SurPriSe and the concept of SurPriSe, as well as with the participation by the audience, which was significantly greater than when Facebook was the topic of conversation. Nissenbaumalso said she thought having a lecture on privacy was important because privacy is a major issue and there are not enough people that understand it, and that there need to be more experts on privacy.