wasting bandwidth since 1999

Crafting a Good Impression

A post at the Using Google Earth blog addresses the evidently frequently asked question Can I Take My House Out of Google Earth?.

The simple answer is… maybe.

The more accurate response is that doing so will take a lot of work and you should be prepared to be disappointed.

Of course a concern about the images of your personal property in Google Earth is just one relatively small part of the larger issue of privacy on the web. Or the lack of privacy on the web.

Most days we celebrate the vast amount of information that can easily be obtained on the internet.

But the other side of that coin is that large chunks of our personal data have also been swept into that stream.

The entry reminded me of a discussion at WordCampEd DC on the topic of student privacy and all the efforts educators go through to preserve it.

We basically came to the conclusion that there’s really no such thing as privacy anymore, at least not in the way we understood the concept in the pre-network age.

In our overly-large school district, we do a lot of worrying about topics like if we should display student pictures on school web sites or whether we can allow students to put their work out in public. Other systems probably do the same.

But expending large amounts of time, effort, and money trying to isolate kids from the world is something of a hopeless cause.

Certainly we need some basic gates and gatekeepers.

However, a better approach than relying entirely on those lock would be teaching our students about the persistent nature of the information they post and helping them craft an identity for the web they can be proud of.

A public impression that won’t embarrass them when someone in HR digs it up years later for a job interview or derail their run for political office when a blogger does a Google search.

1 Comment

  1. Dave

    I see Internet privacy like cars in the parking lot: everyone’s car is out in the parking lot, unguarded, and we all sort of agree not to damage each other’s cars. Everyone’s personal data is out on the Internet, unguarded, and we all sort of agree not to find a user’s personal address and go throw eggs at their IRL house.

    The convenience of having cars and data easily available and the cost of building garages and trying to hide the data outweighs the problems.

    And if someone really wants to give you problems, a garage or a password isn’t going to stop them…all of the data we’re seeing now is either published by the person or was already available by hiring an investigator or paying for records from databases.

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