I’ve been fascinated with web analytics. For me, it started when I wanted to do a bit of analytics on a website that I had created. Well, at the time, it really wasn’t analytics. I just wanted a counter to count the number of visitors.
I turned to Google to provide the tool through their Google Analytics. What fascinated me at the time was that, yes I had a counter, but also the huge collection of everything else that the tool provided me. I had no idea.
As we now know (hopefully) this whole concept has been enhanced and tracking and privacy is a huge concern. Your phone knows exactly where you are because it has to so that it can connect to its network. That knowledge can be used by other services for various things. Your computer knows where you are if you’ve ever used any location service i.e. maps or you check in with any social media accounts.
We all know, again hopefully, that services follow your computer around as you interact with things. Facebook is one of the current concerns.
So, it was with great interest in this field that I went to Michael Geist’s keynote address at the recently concluded Bring IT Together Conference. “From Opportunity to Responsibility: Law and Privacy at the Intersection of Technology and Education”. I was looking forward to answers, insights and recommendations.
Geist addressed the concepts of Access, Copyright, and Privacy. And, he addressed the topics/sub-topics nicely. If you were new to some of the concepts and were paying attention, you certainly would have left with a much better knowledge.
For me, because of my ongoing interest and with working with awesome teacher-librarians over the years on issues dealing with copyright and privacy, I think I probably was aware of most of the issues. I’m hesitant to use the word knowledgeable because that certainly implies a different level.
Yet, I still left the keynote wanting more.
I’m aware of the issues. I wanted answers. I wanted advice for both personal and classroom use.
- Is there a secure browser that could be recommended to address privacy and security issues? I’ve always been a fan of Firefox but even Firefox supports addons for more security. I supplement with Privacy Badger, uBlock Origin, Disconnect, and HTTPS Everywhere. Is that enough?
- Firefox 57 (at least the Quantum pre-release) is fast and Mozilla claims to be your friend in privacy/security. The short tutorial about the Private Window is impressive.
- Is Google really the bad guy because its relies on gathering information and everyone else wearing white hats because they don’t? Or do they? How do we really know?
- With schools buying Chromebooks that use the Chrome browser, what are the issues for use in the classroom?
- How do we stop all these web sites that follow us around the web? Or is it not necessary to stop them?
- With school districts moving so many resources to the cloud, what are the issues and concerns?
- Is there a search engine that we should use that respects our privacy? Does Duckduckgo really not track you?
Or, may there just aren’t any answers…