fen hampson in his home office

Fen Hampson

In describing his SSHRC-funded research project, Professor Fen Hampson refers to a long list of the ways in which the Internet ecosystem challenges the trust of users and undermines our social fabric. He cites government surveillance, Facebook’s Cambridge Analytica scandal, the Equifax data breach, online radicalization through YouTube’s recommendation algorithms, persistent geo-tracking through smartphone applications, fake news and AI-generated deep fakes, and racially biased search algorithms.

Still, he points out that “despite the many ways in which user trust is challenged, people continue to flock to the Internet, the Web, and to mobile applications in ever-greater numbers, and usage has grown dramatically with the onset of a global pandemic, COVID-19,” notes Hampson, a professor in the Norman Paterson School of International Affairs. “To what extent are users aware of these risks and are we seeing altered forms of online behavior by users to counteract them?”

With the support of a $323,000 Insight Grant from the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council (SSHRC), Hampson and his collaborator, Eric Jardine at Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University, will build upon five years of previous survey work to create empirical data that tracks trends in Internet use and user trust across 24 countries.

Monday, May 25, 2020 in , ,
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