I recently saw a post by John Mikton titled “No Privacy, please”** which really caught my attention. With all the readings about online privacy, digital footprints and shadows during this course his article really helped put it into some perspective. According to Mr. Mikton, “The concept of privacy as we might have understood it in the past has changed. Our online lives are attached to an intricate digital trail on everything we do … We as individuals need to re-frame what privacy means to us.”
Basically, Mr. Mikton proposes that by participating in the digital world, we have to give up some of our privacy and we have to be okay with that. But on the other hand, we need to educate ourselves (and our students) about online privacy to manage it as much as we can. So many people are so connected through the digital world I’m sure many of us would have to go through some kind of treatment program to walk away from it all. Plus so many jobs have some technological and digital aspect to them with so many things going ‘wireless’ and ‘paperless’. But using the applications and software that comes with living in a digital world comes at a price. As Mr. Mikton points out
The pay-off is that the services and companies facilitating seamless connectivity and convenience 24/7 get unlimited access to all your online information. Our online information, habits and behaviors are available to them. This is the hidden cost of using these environments, often without our specific consent or knowledge.
I know I’m guilty, as many are, just clicking through the user agreements that come with signing up for sites or using applications but now I realize I need to take responsibility for managing my digital ‘narrative’ as much as I can. And as an educator, I need to consider how I/we educate our students as well. It seems like we’ve focused a lot on protecting our students from online predators but now we also need to really talk to them about protecting themselves from themselves and to be educated about their choices and resources that are in their control. One thing Mr. Mikton recommends is really taking a close look at privacy controls that we do have control over. In his post, Mr. Mikton concludes,
It is through an understanding of these new frameworks, tools and environments that we can to a certain level choreograph our own digital footprint. I believe that the literacy of online privacy needs to be part of our curriculum and learning for both adults and students. No privacy is the new privacy.
It’s not a very exciting topic compared to the newest online game or the latest Tweets or a cool Instagram picture but it’s something we need to take seriously. We can’t complain about privacy issues if we’re not willing to take responsibility for them when we are given the opportunities.
**A couple months ago I added The Committed Sardine blog to my RSS feed. It’s connected to the 21st Century Fluency Project which is a “collaborative effort of a group of experienced educators and entrepreneurs [including Jason Ohler and Andrew Churches] who have united to share their experience and ideas, and create a project geared toward making learning relevant to life in our new digital age.” (This specific blog post was recommended by Dr. Ohler.) The Committed Sardine blog is comprised of articles and blog posts recommended by the members of this group. It’s like a blog anthology! I recommend checking it out.
***I had a “it’s a small ‘digital’ world” moment when I went to the link for the original posting on Mr. Mikton’s blog to get some hyperlinks for my posting and saw that none other than Jeff Utecht had left a comment on that very posting