Is Data the new oil? If so who is striking it rich or who is running on empty? Is the power with the consumer or the companies? Is privacy therefore possible or impossible?
In the real world privacy feels like a choice. Even every day scenarios such as buying food at the shops or speaking to a friend in public we can choose to keep our privacy. You do not feel as if someone is analysing your every word or thought. Privacy is the norm. But is it private online?
Does anyone really care about my location, my purchases or what photos I like?
Well the answer is Yes, this is the beginning of drilling down to strike it rich. Websites and Apps depend on knowing as much as they can about us. WhatsApp was bought by Facebook for 19 billion in 2014. If businesses know their customers connections and preferences then they can use it to improve their advertising and sell this information to other companies.
So unlike real life privacy, online privacy is abnormal. There really is no where to hide because, browsers, Websites, and Apps depend on tracking and remembering information about us. In most cases we are just one of many millions of users and our data is used as a group and not individually. But the fact remains that whatever we do online is documented somewhere.
So why are we still happy to give our data online to browsers, websites and apps?
The “Privacy Paradox“ suggests people will allow access to personal data if they get clear benefits in return. That means seat upgrades, fluffy pillows, and fraud protection, not a general feeling that their country might be more secure. So we say that we want privacy online, but our actions say otherwise.
How many of us change the settings on browsers for increased privacy? Incognito, Private browsing?
Well I wouldn’t bother because “despite the illusion, there is no real privacy in the private browsing mode across all browsers, with hidden tracker codes following your online footprints“. Although Firefox have just released a new browser without any online trackers. Even if you use privacy settings and you are very careful about what you post online there are probably several pictures of you floating around the internet.
How does this affect children?
Do children have a choice when you post on social media? Would you want your child to share with their friends photos of you waking up with bad hair? Being in a bad mood? Wearing a silly costume? The good news is that Facebook are doing something to help. Last week, Facebook revealed a program it’s developing to warn parents if they are about to share photos of children publicly instead of just with friends. A great move from a data heavyweight. However data firms sometimes simply get it wrong. Microsoft 10 allowed parents to see what their children were getting up to online, this is against the UN convention which stipulates that children have a right to privacy and a right to information.
How does this affect education?
Publishing work is great, it means children can share their ideas and thoughts with a wider audience. They can get real life and real time feedback. As educators we can encourage children to consider their privacy. A child could use an app such as Doceri to create a voice over discuss an image of their work. When photographing a child’s image to publish online we could use the back of their head rather than the face where appropriate. These methods would protect a child’s privacy. If we are asking for students to respect the wishes of others when posting information/photos online, it’s important that we model that as adults.
Part of being happy online involves sharing some personal information but before you share too much think about the different options that you have and how the information that you are giving out will effect you in the future.
Privacy Matters whether you are striking it rich or running on empty.