Sunday, 15 March 2009

Privacy: The Marketer’s Nemesis!

This week’s topic of privacy was a real eye-opener for me. Not only did I never really think about privacy issues with regards to the school library, but I learned an awful lot about how information collected from me online is used. I found the following video very enlightening (so much so that I feel the need to include the actual video, even though most of my classmates have seen it!):

The best things (in my opinion) about this video are that it’s Canadian and that it’s easy enough to understand that I could use it with my Grade 8 students. This video really shows how a well educated and responsible individual who knows there own privacy rights and practices them, can be a marketer’s worst enemy! Yet another resource I will be storing away to use when I become a teacher-librarian. Well . . . . I’ll probably use it with my students at the beginning of next school year when I talk about online safety in Social Studies.

Another resource from the Office of the Commissioner that was a part of our reading for this week also inspired pride and taught me a lot. Children’s Online Privacy is a fantastic resolution that makes clear concise statements about the rights of children with regards to privacy, but also calls for action from website operators to make their privacy and terms of use agreements easy to understand for children and youth. What an amazing concept! I’m a well educated adult and even I have trouble understanding many of the terms of use agreements out there. And to be honest I often just scroll through and then hit ACCEPT, so I can get to work with the tool I’m signing up for (what do you want to bet that’s what our students are doing too!) But NO MORE! From now on I will be reading those terms of use agreements quite carefully. I also think a great lesson for media literacy would be to have students analyze (as a class) a well used website’s terms of use agreement, just so they really understand what they are getting into.

We also watched a number of Google videos on privacy, which after one of my classmates pointed it out, struck me as a bit strange. She said it was almost like
“a marketing scheme which was [meant] to reassure me and not make me question whether or not my privacy was being threatened by Google and other companies.” I’m sure they were just trying to reassure their customers that even thought they had to fork over tons of information to the US federal government that what they collect doesn’t really tell the feds anything, so not to worry. Hmmmmm. It definitely does make you wonder. I think the videos were also a marketing scheme to convince their more paranoid customers to use Chrome, as it has an “incognito” setting which doesn’t store and record any information while in use.

The most blatant thing this week’s readings made me ponder was the whole issue of privacy in the school library. What books are students signing out, and who has a right to know what they are reading? Do their teachers? Do their parents? Do I? (Well that would be hard, but you get the picture, it’s a big issue that I hadn’t even thought of before!) When I was a teenager, my parents would never have had an issue with anything I read, even if it was controversial. But thinking back, even though I knew they respected my intellectual freedom, there were still things I wouldn’t have wanted them to know I was reading about. It made me think about how I would approach the idea of late returns or trying to get books back at the end of the year. Once again I must thank my classmates for providing great comments in the discussions surrounding how they handle these issues. I wouldn’t have even known where to start! I really liked the idea of having students call their own home to leave a message for themselves.

As always this week’s readings gave me lots to ponder upon and many ideas to add to my arsenal of resources. But it also made me a better more informed Digital Citizen, and for that I am thankful.

Unfiltered as always,
Christine :)

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