“The majority of the public does not feel in control of the data collected about them. More than eight-in-ten (84%) of Americans say they feel very little or no control over the data collected about them by the government, and 81% say the same when company data collection is considered. Just 4% of U.S. adults say they have a great deal of control over data collected by the government, and 3% agree regarding companies’ collection of information.”
-Brooke Auxier and Lee Rainie of The Pew Research Center, Key Takeaways on Americans’ Views about Privacy, Surveillance and Data-sharing, November of 2019
Digital privacy and data protection are pressing concerns for us all these days. It’s important that we not only understand and try to safeguard our own data, but our students’, peers’, and colleagues’ data as well. Heather Stafford, DLINQ Instructional Designer, shares some tips and resources below to better understand and work toward protecting our digital privacy. You’ll find links to additional DLINQ blog posts below as well, that delve into different aspects of digital privacy.
- Share your take on tools with others. Don’t be afraid to speak up. (This is easier said than done.)
- Identify where functions of the tools might be in direct conflict with the vision of your organization. Ask the question: How much do we care about this vision statement? Should it be updated?
- Adopt an inquisitive rather than an accusatory tone when engaging in these questions. Recognize that many times, ease of use supersedes true critical reflection of the underlying functionality of technology. Many times you will be the first person to raise any objections or concerns about a tool’s use. However, the more people start to see this as the norm – the better!
- Encourage students to ask the tough questions and advocate for them when they do as Autumn Caines and Erin Glass explain in their article
- Anticipate the questions and concerns students might have about technology and address them before they have to. It shouldn’t be their responsibility to do this work.
- Be aware of deceptive web practices and attention gimmicks and report them. Deceptive practices include disguised ads, forced continuity, and friend spam. Check out Dark Patterns for more examples and suggested responses. The Data Detox Kit by Tactical Tech also offers some great advice and tips on this topic, as well as other ways to detoxify your digital world.
- Use an ad and privacy blocker to get rid of visual noise and unwanted tracking. DLINQ recommends Privacy Badger, Ghostery, and Disconnect.
- Read up on algorithms and machine bias. Some good places to start are ProPublica’s selection of articles on Machine Bias, and Project Information Literacy’s Information Literacy in the Age of Algorithms.
- Protect your data privacy to keep companies from tracking your digital footprint and feeding algorithms. Use search engines like DuckDuckGo instead of Google to keep websites from tracking your data. Explore more privacy tools and resources listed here and from the DLINQ CryptoParty.
- Unplug home assistant technologies, like Alexa or Google Assistant, when not in use, and consider leaving them unplugged most of the time. These are data-extracting devices (even when you don’t realize they are collecting data, they are).
- Play with tools that confuse automation and algorithms, like the Track This tool. Track This obfuscates your browser data by opening websites unrelated to your browser history.
Key takeaways on Americans’ views about privacy, surveillance and data-sharing by Brooke Auxier and Lee Rainie from the Pew Research Center
Protecting Student Privacy – Guidance from the US Department of Education
Not Sure if They’re Invading My Privacy or Just Really Interested in Me by Joseph Galanek and Ben Shulman
Terms of Service Didn’t Read – a great place to see how some people have started picking apart different TOS documents
Education Before Regulation: Empowering Students to Question Their Data Privacy by Autumm Caines and Erin Glass