While facilitating the #AcDigID workshop last month, we bumped into Digital Privacy Day (#PrivacyAware) on January 28th and had a number of conversations related to personal privacy. As we discussed the benefits of being an open scholar (e.g. #OpenEd, #OER, #OA), we did not skirt over the challenges/issues of these networked practices. Connected educators often leave traces of metadata or personal information behind as we share documents and resources. Having an online “presence” increases this data traces (which is something I’ve been pondering since I first read, Blown To Bits), and what we share digitally does have the potential to live on — even if you hit the delete button.
With the advent of social technologies, this data trail increases even further. Although my current geographic location does not give me “right to be forgotten” online (just yet,), it is important to consider what this means for our digital identity and personal information. Jon Ronson discusses the challenges of reputation management in these digital times in his book, So You’ve Been Publically Shamed. Ronson details a few cases where the Internet, or rather people online, seem to embrace the digital shaming (trolling, abuse, etc.) culture to ultimately destroy others. These online actions have real implications outside of our networks and beyond the screen. What we do online does impact our offline selves.
Most importantly, as we live (as our self or as a fabricated self) online, we are at risk for sharing our personal data and information. Most of my higher learning colleagues are moderately versed in privacy/compliance at their local institutions; however, more are increasingly concerned as to how to navigate these digital and social spaces where our personal data is shared and not as regulated. How often do we really think about maintaining our digital self and where our personal information flows?
Perhaps it is time for a digital self-assessment and reflection on the topic of privacy/data sharing. Individual security and user rights are often set aside when we sign up for a platform and/or app. Have you ever stopped to think about who has access to your data? How deep do you read the terms of service before you click “Agree”? What does any given platform/application know about you? What 3rd party has access to your data stored in your app/platform/device? And, how private is your “privacy settings” when the organizations have the rights to share/sell/use your data elsewhere? Last week, I participated in the Note To Self podcast‘s 5-day challenge on this very topic, called the Privacy Paradox: http://privacyparadox.org
Image c/o WNYC Note To Self Podcast
- Day 1: What Your Phone Knows; Let’s get metadata…what your smartphone is tracking and why it matters.
- Day 2: The Search for Your Identity; How algorithms see us, sell us, and then sell TO us.
- Day 3: Something to Hide Reclaiming your private parts…and why Google needed an in-house philosopher.
- Day 4: Fifteen Minutes of Anonymity; The digital gaze, our psyche, and what happens when we know we’re being watched.
- Day 5: Your Personal Terms of Service; Defining your acceptable conditions for living the good life online.
I continually think about personal privacy and data; however, last week prompted me to think a bit more about my networked self. Have you thought about what you give up when you log on, share, post, or like on any social platforms? What are your ultimate Terms of Service for sharing data, updating your information, and putting yourself online? Here’s what I proposed for myself, based on the mad libs template via #NoteToSelf:
Listen to this short @NoteToSelf series (11-12 minutes per podcast) and consider challenging yourself to stake a claim for your boundaries of how you will share or give up your rights when it comes to your personal information and digital data. Or check out their Privacy Paradox Tip Sheet. #TheMoreYouKnow
Abelson, H., Ledeen, K., & Lewis, H. (2008). Blown to bits: your life, liberty, and happiness after the digital explosion. Upper Saddle River, NJ: Addison-Wesley Professional.
Ronson, J. (2016). So you’ve been publicly shamed. New York, NY: Riverhead Books.