Thinking About Privacy

I think that the quality of a keynote address, at least for me, is the ability for it to make me think.  Driving home from ECOO, I’m still mulling around Nora Young’s talk about Big Data.  You can watch it, or rewatch it here.

She gave lots of great suggestions about the types of data we share:

Now, I like to think that I’m as cautious as the next guy.  I have Ghostery, AdBlock Plus, and Do Not Track Plus installed on all of my computer.  I have geolocating turned off when I send Twitter messages.  I’m well hidden, right?

I wrote myself one of her quotes which I think is verbatem.  “We leave digital trails behind us”.

In part of her discussion she talked about the geolocation abilities of cellphones.  Both GPS enabled and nonGPS enabled.  Heck, anyone who has ever watched Law and Order knows that this is how serious criminals or missing persons are tracked – by their cell phone location.  As I type this, I have my perfectly hidden computer in front of me but my cell phone beside it.  I have another Nora quote – “Data sets coming together to generate more data than either one”.  So, if you wanted to find me, find out when I’m on my computer and then zero in via my cell phone.

It’s only relatively recently that I’ve had the extensions to my browser.  Before that, as I was learning, I was wide open.  And, if it’s not from that information, certainly I’m somewhat identifiable by my IP address.  Or, try finding me old school – in the phonebook!

So, just what is privacy and to what extent can you control your privacy?  Or, can you even control it at all?  Is the best that you can do some sort of damage control and just minimize what you’re sharing / broadcasting?  How about students?  Do they have a sense of this?  How paranoid about this things should the average citizen be?

If you’re concerned, I would highly recommend watching and listening to her keynote.  I really found it food for thought.

 

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