Educational Technology Users
Group Fall 2008 Workshop
Richard S. Rosenberg, Professor Emeritus
Department of Computer Science
University of British Columbia
President, BC Freedom of Information and
Privacy Association and Board Member of BC
Civil Liberties Association
Learning on the Edge: Exploring
Freedom of Information & Protection of
November 7, 2008
Internet: Web 2.0, E-mail, Newsgroups, Chat Rooms,
and Instant Messaging, Social Networks or Virtual
► PRIVACY ON THE INTERNET
► SOCIAL NETWORKS OR VIRTUAL COMMUNITIES
► PRIVACY AND SOCIAL NETWORKS
► THE ROLE OF COLLEGES AND UNIVERSITIES
► The Internet:
“Is it a fact, or have I dreamt it -- that, by
means of electricity, the world of matter has
become a great nerve, vibrating thousands of
miles in a breathless point of time?”
► Nathaniel Hawthorne, The House of the Seven Gables, 1851
What is Web 2.0?
Web 1.0 Web 2.0
DoubleClick--> Google AdSense
evite--> upcoming.org and EVDB
Web 1.0 Web 2.0
domain name speculation-->
speculation--> search engine optimization
views--> cost per click
scraping--> web services
content management systems--> wikis
(taxonomy)--> tagging (quot;folksonomyquot;)
► Electronic mail is the first technological step in
connecting people asynchronously, independent of
► The Internet's reliability in completing transmissions
successfully even though parts of the system were
non-functioning encouraged the growth and
confidence in this new technology.
► What seemed to trigger the metaphor and indeed
the reality of cyberspace was the creation of
discussion groups called newsgroups or bulletin
boards that permitted the participation of anyone
with an Internet account anywhere in the world.
► While electronic mail is typically a one-to-one or a
one-to-a-few process, newsgroups involve one-to-
many; that is, one person posting a message that
is accessible to anyone who subscribes to the
► Instant messages - Send notes back and forth with a
friend who is online
► Chat - Create your own custom chat room with friends or co- co-
► Web links - Share links to your favorite Web sites
► Images - Look at an image stored on your friend's computer
► Sounds - Play sounds for your friends
► Files - Share files by sending them directly to your friends
► Talk - Use the Internet instead of a phone to actually talk
► Streaming content - Real-time or near-real-time stock
quotes and news
Social Networks or Virtual
► MySpace, Facebook, MyYearBook,
FriendFeed, Second Life, etc.
Started by three Harvard sophomores in February
2004 as an online directory to connect the higher
education world through social networks, the
Facebook now registers more than 5,800 new users
a day. [Probably about 50 million members now.]
► Associated Press, July 2, 2005
► Users control who can see their profiles -- from
only friends to all other users. Other users can
then search the profiles for classmates, childhood
acquaintances, people who share common
► The site has become so ubiquitous among college
students that they tell others to ''facebook'' them -
- to look them up on the site. Browsing it is known
simply as ''facebooking.''
PRIVACY THREATS ON THE
INTERNET AND ELSEWHERE
► Widespread use of video cameras (CCTV)
in public spaces and elsewhere
► Privacy challenging technologies, e.g. RFID
► Event data recorders (“black boxes” in
► DNA databases for use in criminal and
► Workplace challenges to employee privacy
rights, e.g. Internet monitoring, GPS, etc.
► Growth in large databases, public and
private, with international links, and impact
of data mining and other technologies
► Ongoing response to international terrorism
and its potentially devastating impact on
► Responsibilities of companies with respect
to customers in response to security
breaches, i.e. identity theft
► Global information flows and impact on
► Data mining requirements of large amounts
of personal information, driven by
commercial and governmental needs
Privacy in the Time of Terrorism
► We are in a new period of censorship and
erosion of privacy, motivated by the
response to 9/11 with its ongoing assault on
► TheUnited States is leading the way with its
apparent commitment to an endless war
► So we have the USA PATRIOT ACT ‘Uniting
and Strengthening America by Providing
Appropriate Tools Required to Intercept and
Obstruct Terrorism’ (Recently renewed in the US.)
Canadian Anti-Terrorism Act, which
must be renewed this year.
► Itis believed that terrorists make, and have
made, extensive use of the Internet in
planning their actions, thus justifying close
surveillance of the Internet, with its
attendant by-product of an ongoing assault
on basic civil liberties.
PRIVACY AND SOCIAL
► Teens, Privacy & Online Social Network
How teens manage their online identities and
personal information in the age of MySpace
Pew Internet and American Life Project
April 18, 2007 (Results from Oct.-Nov. 2006)
► 55% of online teens have profiles online; 45% of online
teens do not have profiles online.
► Among the teens who have profiles, 66% of them say that
their profile is not visible to all internet users. They limit
access to their profiles in some way.
► Among those whose profiles can be accessed by anyone
online, 46% say they give at least a little and sometimes a
good deal of false information on their profiles. Teens post
fake information to protect themselves, but also to be
playful or silly.
► Fully 55% of online teens have profiles; here is a rundown
of the kinds of information they post:
82% of profile creators have included their first name in their
79% have included photos of themselves.
66% have included photos of their friends.
61% have included the name of their city or town.
49% have included the name of their school.
40% have included their instant message screen name.
40% have streamed audio to their profile.
39% have linked to their blog.
Teens, Privacy & Online Social Networks: Summary of
Findings at a Glance
Many teenagers avidly use social networking sites like
MySpace and Facebook, and employ a variety of tools and
techniques to manage their online identities.
Teens post a variety of things on their profiles, but a first
name and photo are standard.
Boys and girls have different views and different behaviors
when it comes to privacy. (In our focus groups, girls were,
in general, more concerned than boys about the release of
any information that can be linked to one’s physical
Older teens share more personal information than younger
► Source: Lenhart, Amanda and Madden, Mary. Teens, Privacy & Online Social
Networks. Washington, DC: Pew Internet & American Life Project, April 18, 2007.
Privacy Protection in Canada
► Federally,PIPEDA exists but of course does
not apply ouside the country.
we have FIPA and PIPA but
with the same reservations.
Issues of Concern
► Social Networks have problematic features.
Universities and Colleges must consider whether
or not to support their use in courses and if so,
► Because much of the information stored online is
stored in the U.S., it is subject to the relevant
provisions of the U.S. Patriot Act. What steps can
one take to deal with this problem.
► Not just Web 2.0 applications are problematic
given that many (most?) students have hotmail or
gmail accounts and these are also subject to the
Patriot Act. What remedies are available?
► Could Universities and Colleges host their own
portals with wikis, blogs, etc.? Suggest associated
benefits or problems.
► What about the supposed convenience of
web sites set up by publishers and other
companies to facilitate use of their text
books and services? List pros and cons.