Hide or Seek?

The truth is that most of us simply can’t protect ourselves from every threat 100 percent of the time, and trying to do so is a recipe for existential dread. But once we understand our threat model—what we want to keep private and whom we want to protect it from—we can start to make decisions about how we live our lives online. You’ll find yourself empowered, not depressed. Via Slate’s ‘Future Tense’

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One of my favorite podcasts is an incredible program called Reply All

One of their recent episodes ‘An App Sends A Stranger To Say I love you!’

provides a lot of insight in how technology is erasing boundaries.  Aside from privacy issues, technology has also brought to light what I’ll refer to as our ‘Omnipresence Complex.’  Suddenly, we can be anywhere and everywhere at once.  Comments made in one space can be tweeted into another.  On any given day, those of us online are able to be a part of dozens of conversations simultaneously. How do we keep a handle on that power?

If you really want the right to be unheard, you have to be silent.  The truth of the matter is people eavesdrop all the time.  If you aren’t careful in a cafe, what you say will be heard.  Of course the same applies to our social spaces.  This is yet another way that I think that line between on and offline continues to prove itself erroneous.  What you do matters.  Period.  There is no safe space to pretend to be someone else.  Actions, be them virtual or actual will have consequences.

This is part of the reason I think the phrase ‘digital citizenship’ is erroneous.  Citizenship is citizenship.  Being kind means being kind everywhere.

A former professional snowboarder, Sell believes online privacy should be marketed less like an adult obligation and more like an action sport. “If we would have gone to kids and said, ‘Hey, snowboarding makes your legs strong and your heart healthy,’ it wouldn’t have worked,” she says. “Instead it has to be, ‘It’s rebellious, it’s what the cool kids do, it’s what parents don’t know how to do.’ ” Via Slate’s Lily Hay Newman

Where and when do we need to teach students about online privacy?  Every teacher is a teacher of thought.  Do we need to encourage healthy thinking?  Of course.  Do we need to encourage the kinds of reflection that promote a confident level of engagement with society?  That is why schools are social spheres.

Photo by Tricia Friedman
Photo by Tricia Friedman

 …when companies like Facebook create applications that we use in our everyday lives, for free, the real price is in what we sacrifice for the right to use the application for free, our data. via Forbes “There is No Privacy on the Internet of Things”

In the same way that there is ‘no such thing as a free lunch,’ there is no such thing as a no-strings attached free app.  If we want to take advantage of the connections the online world affords us, we need to acknowledge that someone, somewhere might be watching.

Can we safely engage in a connected world?  Absolutely.  We do this by thinking, not by scaring our students and staff.

As media theorist Douglas Rushkoff observed, we – or, more precisely, our personal information – are “products” to many online companies such as Facebook, Google and AddThis.

The greatest fortunes of the 21st century have been founded on collecting and exploiting the personal information of billions of people, with a level of detail that companies such as AddThis can only dream of accessing.

And they’ve found that providing an easy way for us to share web pages of amazing cat videos and pictures is compelling enough that most of us will freely give them that information. via The Washington Post “There’s no such thing as privacy on the Internet Anymore”

Think about what you are giving away is one step.  Think about what applications take from you.  But please, don’t stop thinking about what you can offer to learners.  A conversation about privacy does not have to dictate your ability to be a prosumer.

Either way, the experiment suggests that internet users don’t seem to value their privacy very highly. Which is misleading, because in fact they do value it very highly indeed. The trouble is that they don’t realise this until it’s been violated. Via The Guardian’s “Nobody cares about their online privacy…until it’s gone”

Perhaps we could start thinking about the way we manage our safety online the way we have thought about it as car drivers.  The modern car has changed drastically in the past few decades.  Have people stopped driving? No.  Do they learn about new features, ask questions, and purchase cars carefully?  Yes.  Know your tools.  If a car dealer offered you a free car, you would want to know what they were getting in the deal.  Read the privacy terms for the applications you use free of charge.  Continue to enjoy the ride, watch the road, and navigate this wonderful world responsibly. After all, isn’t your identity worth a lambo?

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Published by TriciaGpers

I blog about all things Global Perspectives!

One reply on “Hide or Seek?”

  1. This makes me think of the old “stranger danger” method of protecting our kids. Just telling them to stay away doesn’t help. They need to know why, and what they should do if they feel uncomfortable. Give them skills, not orders. Same certainly applies to the digital world.
    I really like your statement that it should be just citizenship, not digital citizenship. It really is the same thing when you look at it in that light. Why would you act differently or have different responsibilities online than you do in daily life? Thanks for bringing up some excellent points.

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