Choosing privacy in a digital world

Recently in the US there was the first-ever Choose Privacy Week.  The focus of the week was to inform Americans about their rights to privacy in a digital age. With Facebook recently in the news because of privacy concerns it was a timely campaign. Below is an interesting video made by American Library Association’s Office of Intellectual Freedom. Although though it has been created with an American context (with the US consitution making a number of things different from the Australian situation) it still offers a powerful message.
It is also interesting to think that we have come to the situation where the concept of keeping at least some things private is something we have to teach, promote and remind people to think about. 

Why would you not choose to keep some things private?  Many people who live online, myself included, can tend to forget just how much of our personal information is very obtainable (by everyone) and how much more can be gleaned and put together the unscrupulous. Considering I blog, am a member of numerous ning and wiki communities and other social and collaborative networks, I have put a fair chunk of my life online. This video certainly should have an impact on the way people think about their online selves. 

In a previous post I wrote about my take as a teacher of young  people. I regard it as part of my duty to help our students understand that privacy is not really part of the on-line world. Everyone must be responsible about their digital identities. So many of the tools on the web today are intuitive in that they take your past history and try to link it to your current search/request. 

There are still three basic aspects about privacy and cyber-safety that I regard as important to discuss with students about their digital profiles.  These are:

  • Always read the terms and conditions you are agreeing to when you are signing up for something, be it Myspace, Facebook, Glogster, Flickr or anything else.
  • Value your personal information. Most social networks really only require the bare minimum for registration. Everything else beyond that is purely voluntary and always be aware of what could be used in the future.
  • Do not ever share anything that you don’t want others to know about yourself. Do not think that because you only invite some people to something that others will not ever be able to access the information or that in the future some “friends” may turn out not to be so friendly. (This very sentiment is re-iterated by the well-known people in the video)

The technologies today offer all of us many wonderful opportunities. We can make the most of them by being “good” or proficient users and by making sure we understand the strengths and the limitations of these tools. 

Vodpod videos no longer available.




more about “Choose Privacy Week Video“, posted with vodpod



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