Data Protection and Privacy

This video was prepared for the UNCTAD conference in 2016. UNCTAD stands for United Nations Trade and Development. It has been working on helping developing nations engage safely with global trade and development. Two years down the track and we all seem to be developing nations when it comes to data protection and privacy. The general consensus seems to be that it’s all out of hand and we are powerless in protecting our online information and profile. Our data doesn’t belong to us and that is the biggest bone of contention. This post serves as an introduction. The issues around data protection and privacy are many and varied. The video highlights some major concerns and things to look for. It will take a number of posts to look at all of this in more depth.

For me , it boils down to 3 things:

  1. Selling data for data mining is big business. People need a  lot of data so they can sell it and then people package it and make money out of selling it. Not unlike coal mining.
  2. We need huge quantities of data for artificial intelligence and developing humanoids/robots etc etc. AI is already serving some very good purposes. How can we help without putting our information at risk?
  3. Data is being ,and has been , collected from us and shared without our permission. What are our rights and how do we balance the need for data to further develop the technology we need and like and maintain integrity with regard to respect for individual privacy?

It has become clear to me that different people are concerned about privacy and data breaches in different ways and for different reasons. We need to have a decent conversation about all of this so we can benefit form data and information sharing .

Picture Graphs

Young children are often taught data collection and data interpretation by using picture graphs. It gets across some basic ideas and concepts about data visually. Rebecca Peacock’s video is also teaching literacy because The Very Hungry Caterpillar is a well known children’s story. Her video is well suited to a flipped classroom approach. There is also a maker approach to education these days too where students are encouraged to make things and use technology to further their ideas and understanding. The making aspect of learning is to engage the brain through hands on involvement in a process .

Use Crayons To Share Data Between Digital Computer And Human Mind is a well thought out tutorial on instructables.com and is well worth the read. The reason for the tutorial is to cover what the author sees as a sizeable gap in allowing humans to understand data collection and the meaning of data:

A missing element here is a type of data that a human can physically create using only their mind and body and basic art tools, can also read using the same, and that a computer can both read using *very* simple code and write using simple hardware, such as a set of markers on springs with coils and magnets to drive them, which could easily be made from trash and found items.

The tutorial is very much designed along an appreciative inquiry model and has a lot to recommend it in terms of developing cognitive ability and a real understanding of data collection and code. It is from someone who did a computer science course and didn’t get it. I did a database course and didn’t get it but got distinctions in all the other related courses and so I wasn’t failed. The tutor could see I could understand a lot to do with computers, just not what I was being asked to do with databases. I was not allowed to show her that I had constructed databases of my own. I was expected to do the exercises we were given in order to get a pass in databases. I suspect the same with the person who has created this instructable about using crayons and code. It is important to use a variety of methods to help people understand data collection and how it works. That is critical: teaching students according to their needs. It is something we need to play around with more and find out more and better ways of teaching things related to data. For some reason I can create my own databases but I can’t created them from data I am given. It drives me crazy and I get it wrong. I don’t actually care how many brown shoes were ordered. Other people will have different saturation points in learning. Maybe crayons are the answer.

The future is marvellously daft

So you thought your privacy was compromised? Now you can monitor your own privacy and put it up in a visual story. You can be in charge of your own tracking. You can track your drinking, your room temperatures, your kiddies. You can have a Mother Sensor and 4 cookies to monitor what you want and it will be fed visually to a computer. I am beginning to believe we have gone monitor mad and data daft but it is what is currently driving the world. Mother Sensor looks so innocent, so I bet she can get up to no good! That aside, I am certain there would be some really helpful things you could do with Mother Sensor. She will be pretty affordable if you like her and she is the future so she is someone you could install in your life and make the best of. It is an interesting concept so it’s about exploring it in a more creative way. Once they are  widely available and people can see what to do with a Mother Sensor , then I am sure they’ll have educational as well as home use. I was wondering if I can attach one to my dog and find something out! It would be good if you could programme it. Like when the room temperature falls to this temperature, please put on the heater. When the ground is this dry, please turn on the sprinkler…at 4pm , please turn off the lights. Can you please write me a blog post of 500 words??

They’re watching you

Digital footprint I go this link via zecool on Twitter. Koppel on Discovery has created an interactive daily routine for you to follow and then you will find out how by you are being tracked by whoever it is who is tracking us. It isn’t news and it isn’t a surprise but when you do this interactive activity it makes you realise that we are being tracked all the time. As you do it, you will see how to avoid data collection. Surely their databanks are full by now – whoever they are. What surprised me was when it was suggested you might not get your purchases if you did not give your phone number. Is this a common practice in other countries?

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