Andrea Lorenzet

The «media scenes» of datification. The technoscientific controversy on privacy in Italian newspapers

  • Abstract

Informations and abstract

Keywords: Technoscientific Controversies; Datification; Privacy; Mass Media; Public Sphere.

Datification is one of the main relevant social processes related to the growing power of big numbers. The debate on privacy is the main controversial aspect related to the development of datification, expressing fears and concerns of the public related to the spreading of data technologies. Through an automated analysis of a large number of newspaper articles from the Italian daily press on data and privacy in the period 2010-2014, the dramatization of datification in the public sphere is here described. The issue of the power of datification is explained through the lenses of Science and Technology Studies (STS) and Public Communication of Science and Technology (PCST), by referring to Actor-Network Theory (ANT) explanations of power. Mass media representations are thus seen as an ally of the actor-networks of datification, because they translate for the public relevant aspects of datification when it is confronted with concerns regarding privacy. Mass media produce thus a set of «media scenes», enabling the public understanding of the issue of data and privacy and providing means for avoiding a crisis of power for datification. Media scenes are seen as a way for carrying out an informal technology assessment of the issue of data and privacy, allowing thus an accommodation of the surveillance society by means of its dramatization.

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