Computational Thinking – Naked in the Sunlight – Privacy in the Digital World

Computational Thinking – Naked in the Sunlight – Privacy in the Digital World


>>So in this privacy discussion, we’re going
to focus on our rights to privacy. This chapter introduces a lot of privacy concerns that
have come about because of computers. Fifty years ago, our privacy looked a lot different
than it does today. A lot of the way that we’ve given away our privacy has been in return
for convenience. We get a little bit of an extra discount at the store or other ways.
And we don’t necessarily think about it. So as a starting point for this discussion, let’s
consider the question of: what does privacy mean for you? What does it even mean to have
your data be private, or what do you consider to be privacy? For example, do you assume that your email
is private? Or do you assume that your company or your school is able to read it? As another
example, do you assume that the government is tracking your money transactions, or do
you assume that if you spend cash that nobody’s looking at it? So for a beginning to your
post to this discussion board, consider thinking about what do you consider to be private and
what do you consider to be open, and post some of those ideas. This discussion forum is intended to be a
very broad discussion on privacy. The other discussion forums for this chapter are going
to focus in on some more specific issues. And I’m going to give you a couple of examples,
and I’d like it if you brought in some other examples from the news, or other recent ways
in which you have seen issues about privacy. So as one example that I read in the news
recently, the question is: do you have the right to your own picture? Now this can be
a picture of yourself specifically that I’m talking about. So if you post a picture, a
selfie, to Facebook or somewhere else, some other online forum, does that forum have the
right to use your picture in an ad? Or does anybody else have the right to download your
picture and use it in any other way? Another one, that was recently announced,
is there’s a startup company that’s creating a product called “Coin”. And I’m not endorsing
it, I’m just bringing this up as an example of privacy. Coin is a new, all-encompassing
credit card. You’re going to be able to take, like, all of your credit cards in one stack
and just use this one thing called Coin instead. That sounds great. It sounds like your wallet
won’t have that big thick wallet anymore. But then the question is–now you have a company
that’s collecting information about your transactions for all of your credit cards. What expectations
of privacy do you have for a company that’s doing that? What expectations of privacy do
you have for your credit card companies already? As another example, what if your parents started
a blog for you when you were born? A lot of you probably had this happen. They started
posting pictures and events, and they didn’t bother to protect the data because they thought,
“Well, you know, the relatives just don’t understand how to get into that, so we’ll
just leave it open.” Well, now you’re job hunting, and people can see photos of you
in your diapers. How do you feel about that data? And what right do you have to have the
data removed? And remember, your parents don’t control all the copies of the photos. So by
this question about rights, I’m not asking about your rights with your parents. I’m asking
about your rights on the data online in the digital cloud. The book discussed a number of privacy acts
and the different laws that exist on privacy, and laws that need to exist that don’t yet
exist. But one that it didn’t talk about that I think is highly relevant to you is called
FERPA, or the Federal Educational Rights to Privacy Act. So FERPA controls who can see
your educational records. So for example, when you’re a minor–that is, when you’re
below 18 in the United States–your parents have the rights to your records at school.
As an adult, or 18 abov–and above, you have the right to your records. This is important
if you need to be able to see what people have written about your records or see just
what’s in your record about you. Another effect of FERPA is that your parents
can’t call your teachers while you’re in college anymore if you are struggling unless you give
permission. So if you have some sort of trouble you’re having in class, your parent can’t,
for example, call me because you’re an adult and FERPA protects that. And so I can’t actually
tell your parent how you’re doing in class. So another question that you can consider
for the discussion forum is: does FERPA do a good job of protecting your privacy? Do
you think it does a good job or does it have downsides, and what might those be? I’ve given you a lot to think about in privacy
in this discussion forum, and I really want you to post, but I want you to remember that
privacy is a hot button issue for many people. And so as you read each other’s opinions,
just please remember to be respectful of each other and to respectfully listen as well as
respectfully respond.

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