Why Privacy is Moot Point

I picked up a copy of the local paper to see my son on the cover…Full name, clearly identified. Did he give permission to have the photograph published? No. Newspapers have a policy that they must print full names of anyone photographed. They’ve been doing it for years.

Our schools meanwhile try desperately to protect students from any chance of identification online. Is it worth the effort? After the recent incident in Quebec, the popularization of youtube combined with the advent of cellphones as video and still cameras, the ease of internet publishing, I’d say we should spend our energies elsewhere. Let’s face it, we all live in a fish bowl.

The fact that newspapers have a degree of credibility that we trust somehow makes us not challenge their breech of privacy. While a local ice rink is a public facility, schools are not, but our paper, like every other paper publishes student photos taken in schools. We don’t care. We all like the publicity. As long as it’s good. We’ve heard for years that any publicity is good publicity.
Like I mentioned in an earlier post about privacy, “this is the reality of our world and we need to get our heads around it.” Scott McNealy of SunMicrosystems claimed,”Privacy is dead”. If this is true it should change what we teach our kids. During my breakfast with Stephen Downes, I remember him saying that nothing he says is off the record. He said his life’s an open book. I know not everyone is comfortable with that but that attitude makes life on the web less stressful than one trying to protect their identity.

We can’t control what others will do with our information and unless we want to spend time fighting legal battles, I think we need to give up the idea that we can protect kids. We can’t.