Seminar: Ellie Rennie

How do social norms influence privacy online?
The case of mobile phone practices in remote Aboriginal communities.

SPEAKER: Assoc. Prof. Ellie Rennie
RMIT University
Date: Friday 27th July
Time: 3:00pm–4:00pm (Talk & Q/A)
Venue: Building 8 Level 9 Room 66 (AGR)
RMIT City campus

The seminar will be followed by snacks and drinks
All students, staff and visitors are welcome

ABSTRACT: Aboriginal Australians living in remote communities are likely to be “mobile only” internet users. The sharing of devices among kin is common, and linked to demand sharing practices that stretch back to pre-settler times. While sharing can produce benefits (acting as a form of insurance), it can also lead to privacy-related problems among this group, including illicit use of banking and social media accounts via shared devices. In this presentation, Ellie Rennie discusses the ways in which the aspect of Aboriginal sociality known as “relatedness” is interacting with devices, applications and platforms that are designed for individual device use and device management. The findings suggest that the sociotechnical frameworks of platforms and devices do not accord with these cultural dynamics, including obligations to others. When privacy systems fail, the consequences can be serious and may involve violence. The research was conducted as part of the Cyber Safety in Remote Aboriginal Communities project, which was funded by Telstra as part of their Reconciliation Action Plan 2015-2018. Ellie’s presentation will include audio from a podcast series that is being produced out of the project.


BIOGRAPHY: Associate Professor Ellie Rennie is Acting Director of RMIT’s Digital Ethnography Research Centre and a Principal Research Fellow in the School of Media and Communication. She investigates digital inclusion and automation, with a focus on public policy. She has authored or co-authored four books including: Using Media for Social Innovation (2018), and Internet on the Outstation: The digital divide and remote Aboriginal communities (2016). Ellie is also affiliated with RMIT’s Blockchain Innovation Hub.