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Sic Transit Gloria Mundi Virtuali? Promise and Peril in the Computational Social Science of Clandestine Organizing

Keegan, Brian and Ahmed, Muhammad Aurangzeb and Williams, Dmitri and Srivastava, Jaideep and Contractor, Noshir (2011) Sic Transit Gloria Mundi Virtuali? Promise and Peril in the Computational Social Science of Clandestine Organizing. pp. 1-8. In: Proceedings of the ACM WebSci'11, June 14-17 2011, Koblenz, Germany.

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Massively multiplayer online games (MMOGs) maintain archival databases of all player actions and attributes including activity by accounts engaged in illicit behavior. If individuals in online worlds operate under similar social and psychological motivations and constraints as the offline world, online behavioral data could inform theories about offline behavior. We examine high risk trading relationships in a MMOG to illuminate the structures online clandestine organizations employ to balance security with efficiency and compare this to an offline drug trafficking network. This data offers the possibility of performing social research on a scale that would be unethical or impracticable to do in the offline world. However, analyzing and generalizing from clandestine behavior in online settings raises complex epistemological and methodological questions about the validity of such mappings and what methods and metrics are appropriate in these contexts. We conclude by discussing how computational social science can be applied to online and offline criminological concerns and highlight the “dual use” implications of these technologies.

Item Type:Conference or Workshop Item (Paper)
Web Science Comments:WebSci Conference 2011
Subjects:WS7 Law
WS9 Sociology > WS91 Social Attitudes
WS7 Law > WS75 Privacy
WS3 Web Engineering > WS34 Security
Web Science Events > Web Science 2011
ID Code:452
Deposited By: Lisa Sugiura
Deposited On:07 Jun 2011 16:44
Last Modified:25 Oct 2011 17:12

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