The Privacy Paradox–an educational tool for information literacy

image from radio showWNYC Radio’s Note to Self (it’s a show, but it’s also a podcast) recently aired a five-part series called The Privacy Paradox. This radio series is fantastic, because each segment addresses internet privacy from a number of angles simultaneously. Host Manoush Zomorodi discusses an issue and why it matters, interviews experts on the topic, and then gives you a daily task to help you interact with the issue personally. The best part of the series, to me, is the fact that it is so personalized. Manoush does not advocate a cookie cutter “turn it all off” approach for everyone. The point is that each of us who engage in online activity has a personal threshold. Some things bother us and some things don’t, and that’s ok. You can find out your privacy threshold with this handy quiz. (I turned out to be a Realist on the cusp of Believer. That means I care a lot about privacy but I’m also a little bit chill.)

Even though the series has aired, you can take the five-day challenge any time. You sign up here, and then each day Note to Self sends you a newsletter, an episode, and a daily challenge. The challenges are pretty simple, and designed to get you thinking about what matters to you. The guests Manoush interviews also teach you a lot of digital tips and tricks for protecting your data. You learn things like how to change the privacy settings on all the apps on your phone, how to send encrypted text messages, how to discover what data profile Facebook has on file for you, how to install a plugin for your browser to encrypt your data, and how to lock all your accounts down with a YubiKey. Between the interviews, the philosophical discussions, the daily challenges, and the tips, this series is an excellent teaching aid for anyone who engages with technology.

How can we engage these practices in the library? And if you are an educator, how can you engage your students in these practices? Discuss.

–Anne Hays