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Beyond legislative regulation

Dr David Haynes, a Visiting Lecturer in the Department of Library & Information Science, says a combination of regulatory modes starting with user behaviour and education for regulating personal data on social networking services in the UK, is likely to be more effective than legislation alone.
by John Stevenson (Senior Communications Officer)

David Haynes pictureDr David Haynes, a Visiting Lecturer in the Department of Library & Information Science, has argued for a new regulatory approach for personal data on social networking services in the UK.

In the paper, A regulatory model for personal data on social networking services in the UK, published in the International Journal of Information Management, Dr Haynes and co-authors Professor David Bawden and Dr Lyn Robinson, argue that self-regulation has taken over from legislation as the dominant form of regulation of social networks.  

They maintain that in addition to legislation, user education within a legal framework offers a promising avenue for protecting personal privacy on social media.

Previous models of internet regulation have introduced the idea that information architecture offers potential as a way of protecting user privacy.

Man presses unlock buttonDr Haynes says that while Professor Lawrence Lessig’s widely used model, for example, predates the emergence of most current online social networking services such as Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn, a new approach is needed for contemporary developments in the space:

“A new model is required to represent the range of regulatory responses currently available. Self-regulation is a particularly large gap in previous models.”

No one regulatory mode

His paper lays out this model and explores the literature and surveys the stakeholders involved. The following regulatory modes were identified: Law; Self-Regulation; Code; and Norms.

Dr Haynes' research also employs risk analysis as a way of evaluating different regulatory modes and the preliminary results suggest that no one mode of regulation will address the full range of risks faced by individual users.

For more information on the research, please visit this weblink.

Definition
Social networking service

A social networking service (also social networking site, SNS or social media) is an online platform that is used by people to build social networks or social relations with other people who share similar personal or career interests, activities, backgrounds or real-life connections

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