Privacy in the Age of Ubiquitous Technology

The Effects of Ubiquitous Devices & your writing

Hello, Paul. I had no idea how broad your work was as a professional writer on trending technology through our ETMOOC association. I read the Horizon reports and have found them helpful. I marvel at the clarity and depth of your writing. Your technical writing - the structure and delivery - are something I would like to improve on. It makes me want to study my own writing process and add some of the elements I find in your writing. Thanks for that mentoring! Now on to your post.

I have to admit, the past few months I've had a greater sense of dread at the absolute breakdown of privacy because of the proliferation of technological devices in the world we live in. For me, as a technology specialist in the high school environment, I'm seeing a trend among many students of not only creating for themselves a digital presence that will hurt them not only in the present, but also in the future. My perception is they don't grasp the significance of what they are creating, sharing, and responding to. What you and I would consider private is much different for teenagers. In our courses, we encourage teachers to provide "learning spaces" where students have can discussions that are closely monitored by the instructor and students can learn how to appropriately engage others in discussions. This provides some sense of privacy.

As you mentioned, there is also a sense of real vulnerability in social media. How quickly Tweets and posts to Facebook can go out and rapidly multiply, and have damaging results. And we see the damage among adults, as well as young people.

The other thing you mentioned about devices was the effect on face-to-face relationships. Although the young man you were watching with the Google Glass seemed to handle himself well, I have my doubts that is close to the norm. My observation is that there is a strong, self-centered, consumer mindset among many using ubiquitous devices. The lack of ability to be fully present with others or even themselves, is alarming to me. I especially see this among children, teens, and young adults. Although we want to provide access to technologies, resources, and experiences to enrich learning, many lack the self-discipline and maturity to handle those same technologies appropriately in social contexts. In your research, it would be interesting to see how people would rate their ability to be "fully present" with others when a device was on their person.

Lastly, the concept of ownership of a PLN isn't something I had even considered. I suppose if there is a financial stake in it, then it would be more of an issue. Great question and certainly a topic for further exploration for different milieus. Will you making this a point of research for an upcoming Horizon report, or just writing about it? I would certainly be interested in reading more about it.

Thanks again for your post.

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