I am pleased to announce that I have been awarded a Science & Society Dissertation Improvement Grant from the Division of Social and Economic Sciences of the National Science Foundation.

This grant will support my dissertation research of the value implications of two emerging technologies of everyday life: networked vehicle systems and web search engines. Networked vehicle systems (GPS-based navigational tools, automated toll collection, automobile black boxes, and vehicle safety communication systems) rely on the transmission, collection and aggregation of a particular vehicle’s location and telemetry data. The drive towards the “perfect” web search engine (providing personalized results and delivering only relevant advertising) depends on the profiling of users’ online activities and interests. Taken together, these technologies represent emerging threats to one’s “privacy on the roads”: on the one hand, networked vehicle systems enable the widespread surveillance of drivers traveling on the public highways, and on the other, a perfect search engine facilitates the monitoring and aggregation of one’s intellectual activities on the information superhighway.

Specifically, this grant will allow me to travel to three specialized research sites that will make theoretical, material, and pragmatic contributions to my project:

I am very excited about this opportunity, which wouldn’t be possible without the guidance of my dissertation chair, Prof. Helen Nissenbaum, and my other committee members, Profs Siva Vaidhyanathan and Alex Galloway.

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