The social construction of blockchain privacy platforms

Author: 
Date created: 
2020-07-21
Identifier: 
etd21069
Keywords: 
Social construction
Online privacy
Blockchain
Identity management
Abstract: 

Our current Internet environment is characterized by online conglomerates, predictive computing and data mining. With this, there is a growing concern among users on how to protect their privacy and manage their identities online. Advocates for blockchain, the newest large-scale wave of Internet based platforms, argue it is highly useful for privacy protection. Blockchain is an encrypted and decentralized public ledger that verifies and stores information through a peer-to-peer network. Using the social construction of technology (SCOT) as a theoretical framework, I deploy a comparative discourse analysis of three blockchain platforms - Brave, Civic and Oasis Labs - along with user discourse on Reddit and Medium. This thesis explores how users socially construct this emerging technology by comparing privacy discourse between blockchain platforms and motivated social agents. I found blockchain privacy platforms and its users both value data ownership, ad-blocking and safety and security. However, there is also friction and disagreement about themes of trust and ethics as well as usability.

Document type: 
Thesis
Rights: 
This thesis may be printed or downloaded for non-commercial research and scholarly purposes. Copyright remains with the author.
File(s): 
Supervisor(s): 
Peter Chow-White
Department: 
Communication, Art & Technology: School of Communication
Thesis type: 
(Thesis) M.A.
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