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31 MARCH 2015

Analysis of Human Flesh Search in the Taiwanese Context

"The advancement of internet technologies and the rapid rise of virtual communities have instigated internet human flesh search (HFS) or cyber manhunt in western countries [3] [4] that it has become a cyber phenomenon. HFS originated in China. The term was translated from 人肉搜尋 (Ren Rou Sou Suo [5]) which broadly refers to “an act of searching information about individuals or any subjects through the online collaboration of multiple users” [6].

Participation and collaboration by users play a vital role in the HFS process. On one hand, HFS practices, which are considered a manifestation of citizen empowerment and civil participation, are supported and applauded by other countries. On the other, majority of high-profile HFS cases in China have become aggressive and vicious, arousing research interest on the involved legal [3], privacy [7], and social issues [4].

Although Chen and Sharma [1] provide a comprehensive review of HFS that is supplemented by Chao [2], there is still a gap in research and in the analysis of HFS on a global context. The Taiwanese context is worthy of review because despite the abundance of HFS incidents occurring in the country, few studies on those have been shared to the international community."

(Yu-Hui Tao, Chian-Hsueng Chao, 2011)

Tao, Y.-H. and Chao, C.-S., Analysis of human flesh search in the Taiwanese context, in proceeding of the 2nd International Conference on Innovations in Bio-inspired Computing and Applications, December 16-18, Shenzhen, China, 2011



Simon Perkins

Human Flesh Search (HFS)

"This article studies an interesting Internet phenomenon known as Human Flesh Search which illustrates the far-reaching impacts of the Internet that is less documented. Due to its huge threat on individual privacy, human flesh search has introduced huge controversy and invited heated debate in China. This paper reviews its growth, explores the impetuses, identifies the distinctions from the alternative search engines, and summarizes the benefits and drawbacks. Furthermore, the paper develops a systematic review of the prior literature in human flesh search by surveying major sources such as academic journals, national and international conferences, and public and private databases. Finally, the paper identifies five research gaps in the literature and offers an initial interpretation and analysis of these remaining research issues. Human flesh search is still growing and the current study helps the computing field learn the past and present of this emerging phenomenon and properly manage its future development."

(Rui Chen and Sushil Sharma, 2011)

Rui Chen and Sushil Sharma (2011). Journal of Information Privacy and Security, Volume 7, Issue 1, 2011, pages 50-71.



20012011abuse • alternative search engines • breaching anonymity • breaching confidentiality • broadcasting personally identifiable information • committing an offense • controversycrowdsourcingcultural codescultural normscyber vigilantismcyberbullying • cyberposse • cyberpsychologydeath threats • denial-of-service attack • digilantism • distributed researching • DoS attack • doxing • doxxing • emerging phenomenon • etiquette • exposing corruption • exposing fraud • falsehoodgossipharassment • HFSE • Human Flesh Search (HFS) • human flesh search engine • identifying people • illegal access • individual privacy • information about specific individuals • information about specific organisations • information accuracy • information privacyinformation reliabilityinformation sharing • Internet phenomenon • Internet-based practice • massive human collaboration • monitoring • netizen • normsonline activismpanopticonpeople-powered searchPeoples Republic of Chinapublic humiliationpublic shamingpunishment • research gaps • research issues • revealing classified informationrevealing private informationRui Chensearch engines • social breach online • social controlsocial normssurveillanceSushil Sharmasystematic review • unofficial information • vigilante reactions • vigilantismviolation • vitrio


Simon Perkins
21 JANUARY 2013

Hyper-connectivity is transforming the nature of identity

"Social networks such as Facebook and on–line gaming are changing people's view of who they are and their place in the world, according to a report for the government's chief scientist. The report, published by Prof Sir John Beddington, says that traditional ideas of identity will be less meaningful. ... It states that the changing nature of identities will have substantial implications for what is meant by communities and by social integration.

The study shows that traditional elements that shape a person's identity, such as their religion, ethnicity, job and age are less important than they once were. Instead, particularly among younger people, their view of themselves is shaped increasingly by on–line interactions of social networks and on online role playing games.

The study found that far from creating superficial or fantasy identities that some critics suggest, in many cases it allowed people to escape the preconceptions of those immediately around them and find their 'true' identity. This is especially true of disabled people who told researchers that online gaming enabled them to socialise on an equal footing with others."

(Pallab Ghosh, 21 January 2013, BBC News)



2013civic engagementcountry of origincultural identitycyberpsychologyDepartment for Business Innovation and Skills (BIS) • differently enabled • digital identitydisability and social networksethnicityflash mobs • Future Identities (report) • Government Office for Sciences Foresight • greater connectivity • hyper-connectivity • hyperconnectedidentity constructionidentity performanceinterlinked dataInternet • John Beddington • LARPoccupational identitiesonline and real world identitiesonline interactions • Pallab Ghosh • personal life • place in the world • religious identity • role playing gamessmart mobssmart phonesocial changesocial cohesion • social exclusion • social identity • social integration • social networking sitessocial networkstraditional society • work identities • workplace


Simon Perkins
03 MAY 2012

Aleks Krotoski's The Digital Human

"Aleks Krotoski asks not just what technology can do for us but also what is it doing to us and the world we're creating? Each week she takes us on a journey to where people are living their digital lives to explore how technology touches everything we do both on and offline.

Taking broad themes of modern living as a starting point she charts the experiences of homo digitas; both the remarkable and the mundane, to understand how we are changing just as quickly as the advances in our technology.

What does the deluge of images from digital photography mean for our memory when every second is being recorded, edited and posted online for posterity? Are the identities we create in social media no more than exercises in personal branding, to be managed and protected like any other product? And as traditional churches struggle to leverage technology to spread their faith do the behaviours we all display online have more in common with religion than rationality?

The time for wonder at the digital world is over, we live with it in every day. The question really is who are we now because of it?"

(BBC Radio 4)

Fig.1 "Mack on a summer morning", 30 March 2011 [–memories.html].



2012advances in technology • Aleks Krotoski • BBC Radio 4 • being edited • constructed identitiescultural identitycyberpsychology • deluge of images • digital photography • digital world is over • display online • every second is being recorded • everydayfaith • homo digitas • human behaviouridentityidentity performanceimpression management • leverage technology • living digital livesmediated environmentsmemorymodern livingnew technologyonline and offlineour digital livespersonal branding • posted online • posterityrationalityreligionself-monitoringself-reflexivitysocial changesocial mediasocial media identitiestechnology touches everythingvirtual presence


Simon Perkins

Mediated environments: we must learn to write themselves into being

"In everyday interactions, the body serves as a critical site of identity performance. In conveying who we are to other people, we use our bodies to project information about ourselves.[32] This is done through movement, clothes, speech, and facial expressions. What we put forward is our best effort at what we want to say about who we are. Yet while we intend to convey one impression, our performance is not always interpreted as we might expect. Through learning to make sense of others' responses to our behavior, we can assess how well we have conveyed what we intended. We can then alter our performance accordingly. This process of performance, interpretation, and adjustment is what Erving Goffman calls impression management,[33] and is briefly discussed in the introduction to this volume. Impression management is a part of a larger process where people seek to define a situation[34] through their behavior. People seek to define social situations by using contextual cues from the environment around them. Social norms emerge out of situational definitions, as people learn to read cues from the environment and the people present to understand what is appropriate behavior.

Learning how to manage impressions is a critical social skill that is honed through experience. Over time, we learn how to make meaning out of a situation, others' reactions, and what we are projecting of ourselves. As children, we learn that actions on our part prompt reactions by adults; as we grow older, we learn to interpret these reactions and adjust our behavior. Diverse social environments help people develop these skills because they force individuals to reevaluate the signals they take for granted.

The process of learning to read social cues and react accordingly is core to being socialized into a society. While the process itself begins at home for young children, it is critical for young people to engage in broader social settings to develop these skills. Of course, how children are taught about situations and impression management varies greatly by culture,[35] but these processes are regularly seen as part of coming of age. While no one is ever a true master of impression management, the teenage years are ripe with opportunities to develop these skills.

In mediated environments, bodies are not immediately visible and the skills people need to interpret situations and manage impressions are different. As Jenny Sundén argues, people must learn to write themselves into being.[36] Doing so makes visible how much we take the body for granted. While text, images, audio, and video all provide valuable means for developing a virtual presence, the act of articulation differs from how we convey meaningful information through our bodies. This process also makes explicit the self–reflexivity that Giddens argues is necessary for identity formation, but the choices individuals make in crafting a digital body highlight the self–monitoring that Foucault describes.[37]

In some sense, people have more control online–they are able to carefully choose what information to put forward, thereby eliminating visceral reactions that might have seeped out in everyday communication. At the same time, these digital bodies are fundamentally coarser, making it far easier to misinterpret what someone is expressing. Furthermore, as Amy Bruckman shows, key information about a person's body is often present online, even when that person is trying to act deceptively; for example, people are relatively good at detecting when someone is a man even when they profess to be a woman online.[38] Yet because mediated environments reveal different signals, the mechanisms of deception differ.[39] "

(Danah Boyd 2008, p.128–129)

[32] Fred Davis, Fashion, Culture and Identity (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1992).

[33] Erving Goffman, The Presentation of Self in Everyday Life (Edinburgh: University of Edinburgh, 1956).

[34] Erving Goffman, Behavior in Public Places (New York: The Free Press, 1963).

[35] Jean Briggs, Inuit Morality Play: The Emotional Education of a Three–Year–Old (New Haven, CT: Yale University Press, 1999).

[36] Jenny Sundén, Material Virtualities (New York: Peter Lang Publishing, 2003).

[37] See David Buckingham's introduction to this volume for a greater discussion of this.

[38] Joshua Berman and Amy Bruckman, The Turing Game: Exploring Identity in an Online Environment, Convergence 7, no. 3 (2001): 83–102.

[39] Judith Donath, Identity and Deception in the Virtual Community, Communities in Cyberspace, eds. Marc Smith and Peter Kollock (London: Routledge, 1999).

1). Boyd, D. (2008). Why Youth (Heart) Social Network Sites: The Role of Networked Publics in Teenage Social Life. Youth, Identity, and Digital Media. D. Buckingham. Cambridge, MA, MIT Press: 119–142.



Simon Perkins

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