Tag Archives: privacy

Privacy: what went down

Since the Facebook privacy scandal news broke, I have been collecting articles from a variety of sources and writers representing different perspectives. As summer draws to a close, and things are somewhat quieter on this front, I decided to share my list of articles. This list is not intended to be a complete listing of “what went down” but provide readers with a broad range of perspectives with the intent of raising awareness to privacy issues. Do your part: be aware, stay current, be as safe as you can.

See how Facebook tracks you online

How Facebook was able to siphon off phone data

Essential student privacy and safety questions

Facebook tracks you after account deletion

Firefox work around for Facebook privacy

Go back to old Facebook

#DeleteFacebook is a thing

Potential snooping with mics

Managing facial recognition

Disabling Facebook’s data collection

Firefox extension improves privacy

Worried about what Facebook knows about you? Check Google

Firebox Facebook container

Deleting Facebook Data

Delete Facebook data details

Managing Online Tracking

Scrubbing Facebook Data

How Long to Change Facebook

Snow Job

Deleted videos not deleted

Your online data – what they have on you

Facebook servers and data brokers

Privacy Crisis could change big data forever

Cambridge Analytica’s Targeting Model

Facebook admits to tracking users off site

Data collected on people who did not sign up for Facebook

whistleblower says apps and quizzes like ‘Sex Compass’ gathered data from way more than 87M Facebook users

Facial recognition database being built

Do you really have control over your data?

Just the beginning

What you need to know about big data

Facebook changes – what you need to know

Chief marketing technologist: What Now?

Facebook’s new policies translated to simpler language

Cambridge Analytica shutting down

privacy questions not fully answered

Facebook and spy technology

Tracking mouse movements – what Facebook knows

apps-arent-listening-to-you-but-they-are-recording-your-sc

News: what is fake and what is real?

Online privacy course ready for BC schools

~Mark

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Strategy Institute Presentation Resources

Today’s post shares the resources being used in a presentation at the Education Technology Summit with Lorie Hough.

~Mark

Facebook security and privacy basics for K12

One of the important aspects of using Facebook in the K12 environment is having appropriate security and privacy settings. Whether you are teaching digital citizenship or using Facebook as a collaboration and communication tool, it is important to understand and review your security and privacy settings.

After logging into Facebook, click the ‘account’ tab and choose privacy to view the screen below. Next, select the ‘view settings’ option.


The top 3 settings (below) govern the settings for your visibility on Facebook, that is, how easy it is for people to find you. Narrowing down the permissions (friends of friends, friends)  in these settings places increasing limitations on who can locate you. Leaving these settings at ‘everyone’ makes it easy for people to find you.

There are settings for all other aspects of Facebook. Facebook security and privacy settings allow for control over most aspects of this environment. The greatest control is implemented by organizing your contacts (friends)  into ‘lists’. Once your lists are created (through the manage friends option), use can further control access to Facebook features by adding these list names to the ‘exclude’ section within the option panel. This feature is particularly helpful in the K12 space where administrators, teachers and students may be collaborating together within the Facebook space.

Many Facebook users like to make their friends/contacts aware of a personal or professional web resources such as a web site, blog or wiki etc. Access to the listing of your web resource is controlled by the website option as listed below.

The screen shot below shows a small sample of the other security options available.

Facebook users have complete flexibility over how much contact information is shared, if any. I have personally found it helpful to include my professional email address  so that potential contacts can use that address as a search option.

I would certainly recommend a thorough review of the various options in the applications section since many applications require some access to your profile in order to function.

Facebook uses strategies to personalize your experience by tracking what you click, much in the same way an Internet browser does using the cookie function. It is important to decide whether or not you want this information to be potentially available outside of the Facebook environment. A greater level of privacy is maintained by unchecking the ‘enable instant personalization on partner websites’ option. This is on be default.

Finally, there is an option to completely turn off public search results. Turning this off (by unchecking the option) means your Facebook profile, as you defined it, will not display in Facebook searches. Essentially, turning this off means people can not find you, you must find them.

Note: There are additional settings to block interactions with specified Facebook users.

I hope this security/privacy overview provides some insights to using Facebook in a professional manner within the K12 environment.

~ Mark

New Facebook Privacy Settings Get Mixed Reaction

There has been a fair bit of hype around the promised improvements to Facebook privacy settings. The release of the new privacy settings format this week has come with a mixed reaction from users and privacy advocates. Many users claim some settings are in fact more open than they were before and that it is easier for users to give out details they may not wish to share.

The first time you log in since the new settings were put in place, you are prompted to review and update your settings. As you can see from the screen capture below, there is a long list of things impacting your privacy options to work through and check.

Personally, I was disappointed to see that some of the settings default to friends of friends. I was certainly hoping for default settings to be more locked down with the onus on the user to open up the settings to their liking. In working through this new setup, I noticed that not all settings seemed to adhere to the way I set them the first time through.

Be aware, and be safe online. Take the time to complete a thorough review of your settings. I would recommend the following actions:

  • a detailed review of ALL of your settings with appropriate changes saved
  • logout
  • login
  • recheck the settings for verification

I believe there continues to be more work for privacy and online safety advocates to do.

Related Reading

From the Facebook blog: new privacy tools
ABC News: 5 things to know about the new Facebook privacy settings.
Yahoo News: Privacy Advocates slamFacebook change

~ Mark

Social Media ID Probe

Question of the day: How willingly do social network users give up personal data?

This very question has been explored by Sophos UK. Sophos conducted testing in 2007 and 2009. The results may surprise you.

Given the efforts put into promoting and raising the awareness levels of Digital Citizenship, online safety and privacy, I would have anticipated a trend of improvement to be reflected in the results. However, this was not the case. I wonder if a big factor in this result stems from the continuing growth in the numbers of social network users. The Facebook blog currently reports over 300 million users. Just a few months ago the number was in the 250 million range. TwitDir, a Twitter directory currently shows 5.3 million users with an aggressive growth rate. Some estimates place the Twitter growth rate at 1382%. The reality is that this means there are high numbers of relatively inexperienced social networkers in the mix at any given point in time who may not be as savvy as more experienced online users.

Some highlights from the testing showed that:

  • 41 – 46% of users probed blindly accepted a friend request
  • one of the ‘blind friends’ was in fact a plastic duck
  • younger users tend to give out information more freely

Actual results of the probe are summarized in the chart below.


I would encourage you to read the report and recommendations for online safety at Sophos.com. From my point of view, the results indicate that there is considerable work to do in the area of Digital Citizenship and online safety.

~ Mark

Moving the K12 privacy agenda forward

Today I attended a Privacy & Information Management session in London which was a good learning experience.

The session began with an opportunity to to view some of the 8 training videos that have been prepared for use in Ontario school Boards. The video series was designed for 3 target audiences: teachers, administrators and IT staff. Key areas of best practice addressed in the videos included:

  • physical documents
    • security
    • office practices
    • classroom practices
    • destruction
  • digital data
    • server locations
    • implications of outsourcing storage
    • laptop and USB key use
    • destruction of digital data (hardware recycling)
  • visual privacy
    • use of cell phones, smart phones, digital cameras and video recorders
    • guidelines for posting content on Board sites as well as uploading to public internet sites

Following the preview of the videos, the balance of the day provided opportunities to review strategies for implementation of Privacy and Information Management strategies and further discussion of the 3 areas identified above.  I found the discussion rich and in depth. My note taking included the following points:

  • laptop setup should include a BIOS level password, OS password and an encrypted area to store confidential data
  • recycling of hardware must include data destruction on the hard drives
  • prevent the use of peer to peer sharing tools such as Kaza and Limewire
  • enforce password format and change policies
  • key corporate level data stored locally where you can control access (information knows no boundaries)
  • store email in a centrally hosted system

Key implementation strategies should:

  • create a culture of awareness
  • update and/or write policies to reflect needs and goals
  • sustain energy and interest in this area (it is not a one time item)
  • make best practice strategies relevant to key user groups (teachers, admin, support staff etc.)
  • be shared as a team, this is not just one person’s torch to carry.

Drifting off a little as I was sitting in the sessions, my mind was flitting to other connections. After all, creating a culture of P & I Management awareness is connected to Digital Citizenship.  In some ways, there are interconnected tensions between privacy culture, digital citizenship, suitable access to K12 content for curriculum delivery (content filtering/open internet) and copyright. Somewhere in the middle of all of this is a sweet spot – establishing the required culture is the challenge. I am looking forward to my involvement on our team.

Related Reading

PIM Taskforce
Privacy Commissioner of Canada
Information and Privacy Commissioner of Ontario

~ Mark

A Victory for Process: Facebook Privacy Policy to Change

My July 18th blog post referenced issues with Facebook not meeting Canadian privacy laws. This week, announcements were made indicating that following the consultation process with the Canadian Privacy Commission, Facebook would indeed make changes to bring their practices in line with Canadian privacy requirements.

During the upcoming months, Facebook will make several changes to its privacy policy. This will include clarifying messages on the site that inform users about their control over their personal information when they join, deactivate or delete an account or sign up to use an application.

Specific changes Facebook will be making:

• Updating the Privacy Policy to better describe a number of practices, including the reasons for the collection of date of birth, account memorialization for deceased users, the distinction between account deactivation and deletion, and how its advertising programs work.

• Encouraging users to review their privacy settings to make sure the defaults and selections reflect the user’s preferences.

• Increasing the understanding and control a user has over the information accessed by third-party applications. Specifically, Facebook will introduce a new permissions model that will require applications to specify the categories of information they wish to access and obtain express consent from the user before any data is shared. In addition, the user will also have to specifically approve any access to their friends’ information, which would still be subject to the friend’s privacy and application settings.

My View:  To me, this represents more than a victory for privacy. It is a vote of confidence that the process works – and it worked through the identification of issues, consultation, collaboration and resolution. This is powerful and more effective than some ugly court case. The efforts of those involved in this entire process will positively impact the current 200 million Facebook users and all future Facebook users. Three cheers for a great process!!!

Related Reading:

Original complaint by the Canadian Internet Policy and Public Interest Clinic

Original Findings and Recommendations

Facebook Press Release

Globe and Mail perspective

New York Times perspective

 

~ Mark