You can’t help but read this message as a result of the US elections. “The results were the way that they were because of Wikileaks and exposed email messages.”
How embarrassing, if true.
It brought back memories of at least a couple of other digital embarrassments.
The first one was with an individual who was really “in my face” just before a meeting was about to start. He was adamant that “there was someone at the board office” who read everyone’s email.
What he didn’t realize at the time was that the email administrator was standing right behind him waiting for a chance to talk to me.
The second memory was of one of our first online meetings with Adobe Connect. If you’ve ever used the software, you’ll know that there’s a chat window to have conversations while the meeting is ongoing. The default is that all of the chats are public and I personally prefer that for discussions rather than having people interrupting each other as part of a fight for the microphone and everyone’s attention. The chat also has a function where you can have a private discussion with another person in the meeting. In this particular case, one individual was having a private discussion about the leader’s ability to run an effective meeting. Little did she know that the person who runs the meeting can see all the discussions, even if you think it’s private.
Both were a couple of wake up calls.
How about us now?
First, as a child didn’t your parents tell you to keep your negative thoughts to yourself? What’s the point of spreading them since there’s always a chance that the message will spread in the wrong direction. After all, your friend today may not be your friend tomorrow. Messages are easily forwarded to someone else or maybe you’ll be the victim of a Wikileaks deal.
In the classroom, we talk about digital citizenship. How many times have we delivered the message “Don’t put anything on the internet that you wouldn’t want your grandmother to see”? I keep waiting for the response “but my grandmother is cool”.
But, maybe in the bigger scheme of things, we should take these messages personally and reflect on our own use of digital media. Today it’s email which I think many people will agree is a dying tool. I know that the bulk of my email is subscriptions to blogs and news services. Oh, and spam.
What would have happened if the released emails were all about business? Would it have made a difference? What would have happened if the email was on an officially serviced server? I suspect there would have been a bigger outrage against the hackers than the content of the email.
What about your own email and email use? Does it cut the mustard in the year 2016?
Check out this interesting read “Donald Trump will control the NSA – what this means for your privacy“. Admittedly, it’s posted to the Protonmail site which provides an encrypted email service in Switzerland. The description about how the service works is interesting and would make for a great classroom discussion. What I found most interesting in the article is the growth of new accounts immediately after the election. It shows me that people are seriously thinking about their email services.
Lest this get too serious, check out this piece of advice from students about how to email your teacher.