Privacy

Advocating for Online Privacy

Thursday, June 09, 2016 Comment Advocating for Online Privacy

As a researcher who actively engages in tech policy, Seda Gürses considers how a variety of actors may disrupt online wellbeing. She also brings an international perspective to her collaborative work. As part of the Trust Challenge team launching the Center for Solutions to Online Violence, Gürses contributes her expertise as a computer scientist and privacy advocate. Now based at Princeton, she previously held positions at New York University and the University of Leuven. In an interview with DML Central, Gürses mused about the fact that her earliest digital literacy experiences had been shaped by childhood experiences.


The Boundaries of Data Collection

Thursday, January 28, 2016 Comment magnified data codes depicting privacy issue

I want to take a moment to examine how data collection has changed for us who teach and assess students. In the digitally augmented classroom, there should be concern for both corporate privacy and interpersonal privacy. While we have limited control over the corporate tracking and data-collection that takes place, it is possible to allow varying levels of interpersonal privacy in the digital classroom. To make participation highly visible, down to seeing who contributed what line in a paper or slide in a slideshow, brings in echos of the dreaded panopticon. Often, when I speak to


The Selfish Selfie and Simulation, Part 2

Thursday, August 07, 2014 Comment Ellen DeGeneres famous celebrity group oscars selfie

Random autobiographical story: When in school, as part of our elocution classes, we had a dragon for a teacher, who used to prowl around with a menacing looking wooden measuring scale, as we obediently enunciated our words and practiced tongue twisters in an attempt to improve our diction and pronunciation. “She sells shellfish on the sea shore” the class chanted in a well-trained chorus. Every voice a whimper, trying to find comfort in remaining anonymous. But, in the middle of the group chanting, the scale rose and there would be silence. One petrified kid was stared


Organizing Algorithms, Calculated Publics in Digitally-Mediated Education

Monday, August 04, 2014 Comment graphic with the word share digital code words in background

Recent news reports have begun to reveal how various analytics companies are now data mining millions of children. The learning analytics company Knewton, for example, claims that 4.1 million students are now using its proficiency-based adaptive learning platform, which has served 3.5 billion total recommendations between May 2013 and May 2014 alone. The role of these predictive analytics platforms and recommender systems in education is increasingly causing political and parental concerns, largely related to privacy. Less acknowledged, however, is the increasingly autonomous and automated capacity of the software algorithms working in the background of these platforms.


Trust, Privacy and Everyday Life

Monday, July 14, 2014 Comment screenshot of google maps satellite view street view of neighborhood

I recently realized that it was time to move. My oldest son is 7 and he’d learned that “everything was on the Internet’ from a schoolmate, and wanted to see if our “house” was. We lived in a medium size apartment complex where the apartments all share the same address. We were the ground level apartment, with a townhouse above us, but inside the complex. I put the address into Google, switched on streetview, and, much to my surprise, used the little arrows to tour my apartment complex. When I made my way to our front


Reclaiming the Web for the Next Generation

Thursday, June 12, 2014 Comment banksy reclaim graphite tagged on outdoor building wall

Around this time last year, thanks to the whistleblower Edward Snowden, U.S. citizens found out just how little online privacy they have. For those outside the U.S., the revelations were potentially even worse news as they weren’t granted the protection of the U.S. constitution. The Snowden revelations were, and are, shocking. We need to reform government and its relationship to the digital world we inhabit. This will likely be a slow process best achieved through democratic means. The chances of doing so are relatively good, as we have some of the best minds of our generation


Understanding Education through Big Data

Friday, October 25, 2013 Comment close up of data code creating light tunnel

The seduction of ‘Big Data’ lies in its promise of greater knowledge. The large amounts of data created as a by-product of our digital interactions, and the increased computing capacity to analyse it offer the possibility of knowing more about ourselves and the world around us. It promises to make the world less mysterious and more predictable. This is not the first time that new technologies of data have changed our view of the world. In the nineteenth century, statistical ‘objective knowledge’ supplanted the personal knowledge of upper-class educated gentlemen as the main way in which


Teaching Surveillance

Thursday, August 29, 2013 Comment 3 security cameras on side of building

Across the US, schools are back in session. My university started back last week, and, as I usually do, I spent the first day of class discussing the syllabus, explaining to students my expectations for them and the course. When I do this, I always devote some time to explain the different digital tools we will use in the course and suggest additional tools students can use to make their lives easier. In this additional tools category, I like to emphasize the importance of backing up one’s data and in one of my classes I suggested


Anonymity, Internet Surveillance & Lessons from the Anthony Weiner Case

Tuesday, July 30, 2013 Comment security camera on facebook sign

As a scholar of privacy and surveillance as well as political activism in repressive societies where government surveillance has consequences much worse than embarrassment and political derailment, my take away lesson from ex-congressman and current NYC mayoral hopeful Anthony Weiner’s second-time around exposure for online dalliances is this: there is no easy technical workaround out-of the current crisis of digital surveillance. After NSA whistle-blower Edward Snowden’s allegations made it painfully clear that the world’s intelligence agencies, including our own NSA, were scooping up vast amounts of data with the help of tech giants like Microsoft, Google


Privacy, the NSA and Web Literacies

Monday, June 17, 2013 Comment 2 women holding code pink support whistle blower sign rally

I work for Mozilla. We were one of 86 civil liberties groups that signed an open letter demanding swift access from Congress in the light of recent revelations around NSA surveillance. The website StopWatching.Us has seen a surge in people signing up to find out what they can do to campaign for a more visible, transparent and accountable government. I’m a UK citizen. This does not make me exempt from this story. In fact, it makes it even more relevant for ‘foreign nationals’. The NSA has admitted to routinely surveilling those outside US borders – in other words, people like me.