Why Care About Privacy

Believe we, as educators, should be teaching digital citizenship? Then why are you ignoring encryption and privacy concerns and remaining silent?

Image Source: http://goo.gl/EJDdvA

As I review my Twitter posts over the last few months, I can’t help but notice an increase in those related to privacy and encryption. In the meantime, the rest of the edublogosphere/twittersphere continues talking about apps, etc. much in the same way I go to the movies and ignore pleas for United Way or Feed World Hunger, etc.

Ouch.

But why worry about privacy, about securing confidential information, about avoiding surveillance? I am K-12 school administrator wondering, “Do I need a black belt in encryption and privacy simply to be an American?”

The answer is NO, I SHOULD NOT NEED that. But the reality is, “Yes, you need to learn as much as possible simply to keep information that is no one else’s business except your’s and family to yourself.”

Cory Doctorow says it quite well in this piece, my favorite parts quoted below:

You should care about privacy because if the data says you’ve done something wrong, then the person reading the data will interpret everything else you do through that light. You should care about dragnet surveillance because it gives cops bigger haystacks with proportionately fewer needles. What we seek is for the authorities to do their jobs well, not simply suck up all the data they can in the hopes that it will be useful, someday. 

You should care about surveillance because you all know people who can be compromised, socially, sexually or health-wise. And finally, you should care about surveillance because once the system for surveillance is built into the networks and the phones, bad guys (or dirty cops) can use it to attack you. 

Our communications systems are more secure if they’re designed to keep everyone out – and adding a single back door prevents this. You can’t be a little bit pregnant, and the computers in your pocket and on your desk can’t be a little bit insecure. Once they’re designed for surveillance, anyone who can bribe or impersonate a cop can access them.

And, for those of us who tout digital citizenship as important, encryption should be a part of what we teach others.


Check out Miguel’s Workshop Materials online at http://mglearns.wikispaces.com


Everything posted on Miguel Guhlin’s blogs/wikis are his personal opinion and do not necessarily represent the views of his employer(s) or its clients. Read Full Disclosure

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