Vidi-grant for Daniel Trottier (security, privacy & sociale media)

May 17, 2016

We would like to congratulate Daniel Trottier for receiving one of the Innovational Research Incentives Scheme Vidi grants. Daniel Trottier is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Media and Communication at the Erasmus University Rotterdam. The project for which Trottier received the Vidi-grant is called Digital Vigilantism: Mapping the terrain and assessing societal impacts. Which assesses the impact of the power citizens have to persecute fellow citizens on digital media. With the Vidi-grant Trottier can develop his own innovative line of research and put together his own research team. The project is financed by the Nederlandse Organisatie voor Wetenschappelijk Onderzoek (NWO). Digital VigilantismDigital media enable citizens to persecute fellow citizens, and this process can transcend national boundaries. This project examines digital vigilantism (DV), both as a mediated practice and as a grounded social problem. DV is a process where citizens are collectively offended by other citizen activity, and respond through coordinated retaliation on digital media, including mobile devices and social media platforms. The offending acts range from mild breaches of social protocol to terrorist acts and participation in riots. The vigilantism includes a "naming and shaming" visibility where users publish the targeted individual"s personal details on a public site, resulting in harassment, death threats, and other harms. DV is an interdisciplinary concern that requires both conceptual and empirical advancement. Drawing on my previous research on digital media culture, online policing and surveillance, the proposed research considers the cultural factors surrounding DV, in contradistinction to offline vigilantism. It also considers the social impact on the various actors involved, as well as how this complicates conventional policing and state power. The proposed research will first develop a theoretical framework that will advance the frontier of knowledge of DV in relation to several key disciplines and interdisciplinary fields. Next the proposed research will deliver a comprehensive content and discourse analysis of news media as well as other important sources of public discourse on the matter. This will be followed by in-depth semi-structured interviews with an array of relevant social actors in The Netherlands, The United Kingdom, Russia and China. This includes participants in DV campaigns, targets of DV, police, policymakers and media platform operators. These theoretical and empirical findings will advance a conceptually rigorous and nuanced understanding of the motivations and practices that surround digital vigilantism, alongside recommendations for key stakeholders. Innovational Research Incentives SchemeThe Vidi-grants are meant for experienced researchers, who after their promotion have successfully conducted research for several years. Vidi together with Veni and Vici belong to the innovational research incentives scheme of the NOW. Researchers have the freedom to choose their own subject. In this way, NWO tries to stimulate research that is the product of curiosity and innovations. NWO selects researchers based on the qualities of the researcher, the innovative character of the research, the expected academic impact and the possibility of knowledge utilization. In total, 572 researchers applied for the Vidi-grant. Of which only 87 people received the grant