Today a person’s personal information is a commodity, and privacy is a struggle to maintain. I want to stop (or at least slow down) Facebook, Google and all their advertisers (not to mention Cambridge Analytica) from vacuuming up my information.
Although I believed that I had taken significant steps to maintain a modicum of privacy in my 21st Century digital life, I was wrong.
I am less than halfway through Bruce Schneier’s book, Data and Goliath, all about the hidden methods of collecting our personal data, and already I am discovering that my personal privacy plan has many holes. I’m not that different from most adults. Privacy, however, is going away, and we collaborate in the process by not making any specific decisions and by going along with the ways the Internet tracks us. We do have choices, and we educators and parents need to learn a lot more about maintaining privacy and then share what we’ve learned with young people.
In the book’s first chapters Schneier addresses data collection, how trackers get added to my computers and digital devices as little files called cookies. With a quick search, I found over 1,000 cookies and cache files on my laptop, despite the fact that I only allow cookies from places that I visit (about 650 were cookies). Some of these are useful and don’t bother me — like the cookies for the several catalogs where I regularly make purchases, the newspapers which I read, and the educational and musical organizations which I like. Read more about cache. Continue reading “How Much Privacy Do I Have? DuckDuckGo Gives More”→
If you think that the digital world may be getting it together on the privacy front, at least when it comes to children, think again.
A disturbing article, Data Mining Your Children, published in Politico, describes how for-profit online learning companies provide digital textbooks, connected learning programs, and record keeping options while collecting an enormous amount of information on individual students. The question is, what will they do with this personal data? Politico is a Washington newspaper that covers national government policy and politics. Continue reading “Is Privacy Protected When a Student Learns Online?”→
We most often worry about advertisers tracking our children online but sometimes forget to think about how much we adults are followed around digitally.
Check out the Washington Post article, Privacy Advocates Push Back on Stores’ Tracking, describing how retailers keep track their customers by monitoring smartphone wifi signals. No guidelines currently regulate this type of information collecting so no privacy parameters exist. Essentially this mobile device tracking is a way to get more information about shoppers, track what they do, and target advertising and target advertising more effectively.
The article, by Amerita Jayakuma, describes how a Maryland legislator has proposed a bill to require retailers to inform people if the store is watching them while they shop. The Federal Trade Commission recently held a seminar on mobile device tracking.
I’ve been wondering for some time if I was tracked a few months ago when I visited a huge regional outlet mall with my husband.
While people worry a lot about kids and their digital access, the most critical aspect to me — and the most likely to cause an eventual problem for a child — is the degree to which information can be tracked and collected while children work and play in the web.
In New Ways to Think About Online Privacy, Nina Gregory shares what she heard at TED Long Beach where some major technology thinkers and innovators (some speakers, some attenders) shared their thoughts about what Gregory calls “privacy hygiene” (and about what they might be teaching their kids about the subject).
You may not have heard of some of the companies represented, but the thoughts about privacy are worth reading.
Parents and educators know how much children and teens love to explore the digital world, and that’s not going to change. What needs to change is the way companies collect information about kids’ digital activities and then use it for marketing purposes, much of it exploitative. The Do Not Track Kids Act aims to stop tracking the activities of children and adolescents and encourages companies to adopt a Digital Marketing Bill of Rights for Teens.