In the last months I have been in the Dutch media a number of times. Although this is not a new experience for me – I had been representing Bits of Freedom in the media when I worked for them-, the frequency and intensity was. The main reason for all of this were the Dutch Big Brother Awards, organized by Bits of Freedom. The other reason was the growing scrutiny of search engine giant Google in The Netherlands from the perspective of user privacy. I think and hope it’s over for a bit. I thought it would be nice to list a few of these experiences.
To start with the nicest I appeared in a documentary on the possibility of anonymity and the hunger of the US for personal data of European citizens. My contribution focuses on online services on the Internet. The show is still online (in Dutch). My interview comes after a minute or six. I was happy with this one. The only thing that could have been better was the connection of what I said with the other interviews. They start with Internet and search engines and then they go to passenger name records and terrorism. The series in which it appeared “Jansen & Janssen” is made by one of the best public broadcast agencies in Holland, VPRO. The same people were involved in the documentary “Behind the Screen” from BackLight about Google from 2006.
The last days I was live on the radio a few times. The shortest one is national ‘breakfast radio’ (Radio 2, 7:45 am) on Friday 21 September 2007, announcing the Dutch Big Brother Awards Ceremony, to be held that night. The show is still online. I don’t recommend it in particular; the music they play is awful and it’s very hard to find my piece (in Dutch). My interview went fine although it was quite short. I explained why the Dutch central bank, DNB, got a nomination for an award. They knew about the SWIFT scandal and kept it quiet. I also explained the goals of the Big Brother Awards, public awareness and debate about privacy and privacy intrusions.
I did a long interview about the Big Brother Award winners, ‘You’, NS, DNB, and the Electronic Child Dossier, on Monday 24 September 2007 in Desmet Live (Radio 5), presented by Pieter Hilhorst. It’s online here. The conversation I appear in starts around minute 21:55. As you can see, they actually recorded the show with a camera. As you can see as well, I only noticed that after the show. After a while it looks like I have a palm tree in my hair… As far as the conversation is concerned, I liked it a lot. I get to talk about the winners of the Big Brother Awards. Besides that it deals with privacy and showing oneself online. According to Pieter Hilhorst, web 2.0 technologies trains us to invest our private lives in these online communities. We get trained to share and thereby loose our traditional sense of privacy. The subject relates connects to Danah Boyd’s argument about identity production and the inaugural lecture of Jonathan Zittrain at Oxford University. The other guests are a theater maker/actor Hans Croiset, director of microblog service Numpa Arjen van ‘t Hof, and a blogger and intensive user of Hyves (Dutch Myspace) whose name I forgot.
Finally, yesterday, I was on the news channel Radio 1, in a program called Radio Online, by public broadcaster TROS. Also this one is online. My interview starts at 16:15 (in Dutch). Before my interview they are talking with two experts on search engine optimization, Henk van Ess, journalist and director Marco Juffermans of UniversalXS. UniversalXS says it cleans the search results of its clients. It has a service for 150 Euro’s a month, for which they put nice information on the web and optimize it for Google so the other information gets pushed away. So in fact they do not clean the results, they pollute them (even more?). After that I get to react and speak about the winners of the Big Brother Awards. A few times these particular journalists were going for the ground under my feet. What I took from it: it’s nice if you know (maybe better then the interviewers) what you are talking about.