Thursday, August 25, 2016

Values and Networks -- Steps Toward Exploring their Relationships

Presenter: Roland Bless

Co-authors: Carsten Orwat

The current trend of "Internet of Things" increases to the dependency of the society and individuals on networks. For example, Free of opinion and expression and freedom of assembly is often asserted on Internet. However, fundamental social values are frequently in conflicts with each other on networks. A canonical example is freedom of expression and right to privacy is often at odd with surveillance for homeland security.

The paper proposes three methodologies for value-oriented network design and value-aware communication architecture. First, paper proposes to use specification and operationalization to provide technical solutions for conflicting requirements. Operationalization has drawbacks, such as there is limited room for interpretation or exception for rules. Secondly, the paper proposes institutionalization, which means establishing institutional framework, policy and governance structures. Institutionalization has drawbacks, such as regulatory capture by partial interest. Third,
choice and markets can provide different products according to different values. But market failures are possible, which limited choices and binding customers to platforms. Technical support can help with open-standards.

The paper suggest to think in institutional frameworks. Technical implementation are only on part of the solution, Future research should focus on methods that enables considerations of technical and institutional solutions at the same time.

Q: There was a similar proposal in SIGCOMM 2014 "Balancing Accountability and Privacy in the Network", can you compare and contrast?
A: Privacy achieved by prior work is a good example of what is propose in the work.

Q: Problem does not seem new to me, there are parallel ideas such as financial systems.
A: In medical emergency system, your privacy is not as important. What proposed here depends on use cases, you may need different network for different values. Accountability may need additional law to drive technical design. Values can easily contradict with each other, you need to design for different values.