In-class activities, Feb. 11-12

One: What are websites sharing about you?

What is a “request” in this context? What is a “cookie”? What are these websites trying to do? Any surprises here?

Two: Get to know your data double

Is your data double accurate? Who is the person evoked by your online profile? Does it matter whether your data double is accurate or not? Why?

Three: See your mobile location history

  • If you have an iPhone: Go to settings –> privacy –> location services –> system services –> significant locations –> and select a city from your history list.
  • If you have an Android: open the Google Maps app, tap Menu and then Timeline. To see another day or month, tap Show Calendar and then swipe left or right and tap a day. Tip: To see places that you’ve visited recently, tap Menu Menu and then Your places and then Visited.

Four: What is our responsibility?

Corporations and government agencies have become data warehouses of sorts, gathering and connecting data points in order to build advertising profiles and to make decisions that could have legal ramifications for users (e.g., citizenship or immigration status). Most ordinary people don’t have a full sense of the scale of this data-collection and -analysis.

The ALA says: “All people, regardless of origin, age, background, or views, possess a right to privacy and confidentiality in their library use. When users recognize or fear that their privacy or confidentiality is compromised, true freedom of inquiry no longer exists.”

What, then, is libraries’ responsibility to their patrons, in this context? How can librarians and information professionals most effectively push back on some of the more insidious effects of these threats to privacy?

Five: Edtech and learning analytics

In a group, select one of the following educational technology products. (I’ve linked to some information about the companies’ data/privacy policies. You may want to do some quick additional research.) What are these companies doing with student data? Prepare a summary for your classmates of what they need to know about the product’s privacy policies.