What’s Going on with Our Data? – Privacy and the Hyperlinked Library   6 comments

Data collection is a part of participating in the digital world. We’re told that it a necessary sacrifice for the sake of our safety and convenience. At what point do the benefits of giving up our privacy outweigh the downsides? Although we’ve come to accept some levels of data collection as part of the price we pay to participate, the PEW Research survey on privacy and information sharing shows that, depending on what we’re getting in return, we are willing to allow our personal information to be collected. This is particularly true following the recent large volume of data breaches. We’re feeling less and less in control of our privacy, and our confidence in companies or the government keeping our information secure is dropping as a result. Another PEW Research survey on Americans’ attitudes about privacy, security and surveillance noted that while credit card companies receive the highest level of confidence in keeping information secure out of all the online service providers, the percentage is at a whopping 9%. Not particularly comforting.


Adults aren’t the only ones dealing with privacy issues in the digital world, teens are too. According to a survey on parents, teens and digital monitoring, teens and their online behaviors are often monitored by their parents, often involving checking the teens’ browsing history, social media profile, and phone call and message records. About 15% of the parents surveyed reported using monitoring tools, such as location tracking, in order to monitor their teens.

The good news is that there are ways for us to take some control over our information, and many Americans are already taking those steps. Some of the less technical ways of protecting privacy includes clearing cookies and browser history, disabling cookies, refusing to provide information, or providing inaccurate information. More technical ways of protecting privacy involves using a proxy server or virtual personal network (VPN).



Posted October 9, 2017 by Thu-Thao Tran in Uncategorized

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6 responses to What’s Going on with Our Data? – Privacy and the Hyperlinked Library

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  1. What a great topic to write about. This summer, I took the Cybersecurity course and learned a lot about the issues you mentioned – especially as it relates to balancing our willingness to provide personally-identifiable information in order to engage in online activities with our decreasing confidence in these companies to keep our information protected.

    • There were so many interesting topics to choose from in that module, but as soon as I saw that privacy was one of the choices, I was excited to take that route! It really is a difficult balancing act between giving up some of our privacy in order to participate online, and I have a feeling that this is going to be an ongoing discussion as the Internet becomes more ingrained in our daily lives.

  2. Hi Thu-Thao,

    Great points about what we are willing to sacrifice for the sake of convenience. The answer to that seems to be: Everything – at least as far as privacy is concerned. It seems to be an unfortunate effect of the very human drive for making life easier – instant gratification if you will. Have you seen the documentary, Terms and Conditions May Apply? Though perhaps tilting slightly toward alarmism, the doc takes the big data collectors – and their consumers – to task on privacy issues. It’s a fairly good examination of rights and responsibilities of consumers in online environments. Definitely makes you think twice before clicking those “agree” buttons!

    • Convenience really is a huge driving force when it comes to our willingness to give up our privacy, that’s for sure!

      Although I have not seen that documentary, the title itself reminds me of something I read about how, for an April Fool’s joke, a company changed their terms and conditions to state that agreeing to it would also mean that they are selling their soul to the company. They did include an option to contact the company to retrieve said soul, but the fact that only a small number of people caught that change to the terms and contacted the company for their souls back definitely shows how many of us really read through those clauses hahahaha

  3. It truly is a balancing act. I totally get the point about convenience. On the other hand, I have started using some of there practices you outline in the post – browsing in private mode, clearing cookies, etc.

    • Sometimes it’s so hard to try to protect your privacy when access to certain content or features require a mind-boggling loss of privacy. I find that one of the hardest thing about browsing in private mode is when you lose track of a neat thing you read/find because you couldn’t remember where or how you came across it. But now that I have closed out that window, it is now it is forever lost unless I happen to remember how I got to it in the first place! Oh, the price of convenience!

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