Tuesday, December 15, 2009

US Supreme Court Looks At Employee Privacy Rights

"An Ontario, Calif., police officer sued the city for violating his privacy rights when it went through personal messages sent from his department-issued pager. The Supreme Court is taking up the case."

"The US Supreme Court has agreed to take up a case examining to what extent employees have an expectation of privacy in personal communications conducted on employer-issued communications equipment.

Workplace privacy is becoming an increasingly thorny issue with a broadening array of office technology used to aid efficiency and job performance but that can also provide a paper trail of intimate and potentially embarrassing details of a worker’s personal life.

That’s what happened to Police Sgt. Jeff Quon.

As a member of the Ontario, Calif., Police Department’s SWAT team he was issued a digital pager.

The city maintains a policy for computer, Internet, and e-mail use that barred personal use. It says employees should have no expectation of privacy or confidentiality.

When the city purchased pagers in April 2002, it announced that they, too, would be covered by the city’s e-mail policy. But this instruction was not expressed as a formal amendment to the written policy.

Instead, day-to-day practice evolved into an informal policy on the use of pagers. The contract with the city’s service provider allowed 25,000 characters of use each month. If an officer went over that limit, a department official would contact the officer and obtain payment for any overage.

This informal policy suggests that the city understood and accepted the fact that many department members were using their official pagers to send and receive personal messages.

Then in August 2002, the police chief, without notice, ordered an audit of pager use. The city contacted the pager service and requested transcripts of communications from pagers that had exceed the 25,000 character limit. Sergeant Quon’s was among them."

Christian Science Monitor - Supreme Court to look at employees' privacy rights

Saturday, December 12, 2009

Facebook Pushing Users To Stop Being So Private

"Facebook is pushing users to stop being so private with their information, and from the looks of it, founder Mark Zuckerberg is leading the charge by sharing photos of himself at parties and with his girlfriend.

Facebook execs have in the past largely kept their profiles locked down, even as 80 percent of Facebook users stick with the default privacy settings that have long made all pictures public. But now Facebook wants to push users into a brave new Twitter-like world with changes to its privacy settings rolling out this week. The more public profiles are intended to help Facebook outstrip Google as the net’s top information source and, of course, bring in more ad revenue.

In a bit of very interesting timing, Zuckerberg’s photos have been made public to the entire internet, mostly through a post from gossip blog Gawker, after Kashmir Hill at True/Slant discovered and reported that Zuckerberg was sharing photos with a wide circle — friends of friends — and his event calendar with everyone."

Wired - Facebook’s Zuckerberg Becomes Poster Child for New Privacy Settings

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

UK: 7 In 10 Parents Want Compulsory Online Privacy Lessons

"Parents would like the government to introduce lessons to improve young people’s understanding of online privacy and the value of their personal reputation, with 69 per cent of parents calling for compulsory lessons to be introduced as part of compulsory school lessons, according the Digital Literacy Report 2009.

There is a growing concern among parents about their children’s online activities , according to the YouGov poll of 2,050 adults.

Almost half (48 per cent) said they were worried that their children’s online actions of social networking sites like Facebook , Bebo and YouTube will “destroy their future chances of getting into a chosen university or getting their first job” and more should be done by the government and schools to help young people safeguard their future prospects."

Telegraph - Seven in 10 parents demand compulsory online privacy lessons



As above.

I've taught an awful lot of adult computer education courses and one the things that strikes me the most is how lazy adults are about learning how to use the 2 most profoundly affecting tools of our time: computers and the internet.

- J. Burton

Interesting Discussion Of Gendered Criticism Of The Selfie

There’s a lot more to a selfie than meets the eye (Salon) by Alicia Eler The moral panic around teen selfies is old fear dre...