Tag Archives: privacy

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Weekend Reading: Hello October Edition

Happy Friday, ProfHackers!

The Atlantic confirms what many us have known for some time now: “Online Relationships Are Real.” Also from The Atlantic is an interesting look at they way NYU philosopher Helen Nissbaum is shaping national policy on privacy.

It’s football season, which means different things for different campuses: tailgates, crowds, difficulty parking, empty libraries (my personal favorite!), but this year it also means something very different: concussions. Last weekend, the Univers…

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A Not-so-gentle Reminder about Security: Heartbleed

A couple of days before yesterday’s post was scheduled to run, we started hearing about the Heartbleed Bug.

This is a nasty one. It’s been out for quite a while, and it’s a flaw in a software library that’s used by a very high number of websites. Check the link above for the details of just how nasty the bug is.

What can readers do to protect their data?

An important part of the necessary response is beyond any individual user’s control. If a website was using the affected version of OpenSSL, i…

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A Gentle Reminder about Security

Padlocks

[Editor's note: We will publish a follow-up post next week tomorrow about the Heartbleed Bug, which has been making headlines this week. You can read this follow-up post here.]

There are a lot of benefits to doing much of our work online. Collaboration with far-away colleagues is easy, we can have ready access to our work no matter what device we’re using, and having our work backed up in the cloud can be reassuring.

But there’s danger as well, unfortunately. In just the past two months, at lea…

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A Good Time to Check Your Social Media Privacy Settings


Over at the New York Times “Bits” blog, Nick Bilton reminds us that we should review “who has access to [our] social accounts” from time to time. Services like Twitter, Facebook, Google, and LinkedIn often invite us to link certain services to our accounts, for reasons that vary from making it easier to update multiple accounts at once to being able to authenticate our identity for a third-party service. It’s all too easy to forget just how many of those third-party services have been granted a…

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Ghostery on Your Machine: Stop Sites from Tracking You

Suppose that you visited the website of the New York Times this morning. If you were me, then you likely skimmed past ads for eyeglasses, an advertorial for Dell, a link to graduate programs at Columbia, and innumerable ads for home delivery of the Times. Those ads were targeted at me: I recently bought glasses, I recently looked for some computer hardware, and I’m a graduate student. Your ads were probably different, but they were almost certainly targeted at you in some way.

What’s going on h…

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To Keep Gmail Inbox Under Control, Adjust Google+ Setting

Earlier this month, the Gmail blog announced that by more tightly integrating their social media platform, Google+, with their web-based email service, Gmail, they’ve made it possible for you to “[r]each the people you know more easily.”

I can understand why they didn’t title their announcement “Now anyone on Google+ can send you email without knowing your email address,” but that would have been just as accurate. You see, the default setting in your Gmail account is to allow anyone with a Goog…

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Data Mining and Facebook Graph Search

Random Number Multiples - RGBIf you haven’t fled Facebook for Google+ or abandoned social networks entirely, you probably–like me–have a lot invested in the platform. A new feature is in beta on Facebook: Graph Search. If you get through the waiting list to try it out, you’ll find lots of options for targeted searches centered on your social network. Graph search works by linking together terms and restrictions to allow for very specific searches within the network: you can look for images from friends based on a common loc…

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Checking Your Facebook Privacy (Again)

The text "Facebook Privacy Policy Explained" followed by a drawing of a hand sticking up a middle finger

Last spring, I wrote a post outlining six steps for checking your Facebook privacy. These steps were developed during workshops that I had been teaching faculty and students at Emory on creating an academic web presence. While I (and most everyone here at ProfHacker) would suggest that sharing your work and being find-able on the web can have a salutory effect on your career (especially when you’re on the job market), not everyone feels that way–and especially about Facebook, where you likely…

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Google Is Watching You …

Google copsGoogle’s new privacy policy, which went into effect on March 1st, has been attracting a lot of attention. The Digital Campus crew mentioned it in their February 15 podcast, and there’s been a fair amount of discussion in the Chronicle about the degree to which the new policy will impact education partners and whether students’ privacy will be adequately protected (do be sure to read the short comment threads on some of those articles, as they provide some good points to think about). Enterprise …

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Protecting Student Privacy Without Going FERPANUTS

Back in November, Georgia Tech took down their wikis, claiming that they constituted a FERPA violation. This stirred up quite a discussion on Twitter, as well as on blogs and podcasts (see, for instance this and this).

Decisions such as the one taken by Georgia Tech are troubling, and undermine the kinds of work many readers of this blog do with their students. Nonetheless, student control of their work is important—especially when that work is (or may be) made public. Certainly there are ways…