On the Internet There's No Such Thing as Privacy

There’s a slide that appears in every E2BN e-safety presentation. It’s a simple message. It reads “On the Internet: there’s no such thing as privacy, there’s no delete button so post like your enemies are watching!”

This article looks at the first part of that message. Privacy: a state in which one is not observed or disturbed by other people; the state of being free from public attention.

Imagine if every book you read reported that you had read it, how long you looked at it, which bits you re-read and what you read next. You can learn a lot about someone based on what they read! This is what happens online. Cookies on web sites track your browsing habits and web servers store this data. If you combine browsing habits and some bits of personal data quite a detailed picture or profile will emerge.

How Secure is your School's Data?

Over the last few years there has been a disturbing rise in the number of high profile information and data-security breaches. Information such as patient records and case files on vulnerable children have been lost, stolen or inadequately protected.

A study by East Anglia and Plymouth Universities surveyed 1,059 schools. The survey revealed that t pupil records detailing addresses and routes to school, whether they have special needs, are known to social services or even if they have relatives who are on the sex offenders register are at risk of exploitation because nearly half of the schools have no policy for handling personal data. The report also showed that 45% of schools did not meet minimum requirements for password security and 40% had insufficient measures in place for the security of their computer systems again problems such as viruses.

On the Internet there’s no Delete Button

Last term we looked at the statement ‘On the Internet there’s no such thing as privacy’ and asked what life would be like if every book and every page we read reported our reading habits back to its publisher. We then considered to what degree websites and online technologies are in fact reporting our browsing habits to marketers, governments and service providers and what the implications are for our privacy.

This term we look at the idea that ‘On the Internet there’s no delete button’, consider the implications of the digital version of pens and pencils and ask how we might moderate our behaviour if every scribble, note and doodle we pen were somehow permanent, indelible and endlessly replicable.

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