As I read the today’s report from the Pew Research Center on Americans’ Attitudes about Privacy, Security and Surveillance, a few of the survey results jumped out at me: (The results below are from the report linked above)
- 93% of adults say that being in control of who can get information about them is important
- 90% of adults say that controlling what information is collected about them is important
- 88% say it is important that they not have someone watch or listen to them without their permission
- Most want limits on the length of time that records of their activity can be retained
- Americans have little confidence that their data will remain private and secure
- 93% say it’s important to be able to share confidential information with another trusted person
Does this sound familiar? The debate about student data revolves around many of the same considerations: We recognize that collection and sharing of information can be beneficial in the academic setting, but are concerned with who can collect what data, what permissions are required, how long can the data be retained, and how will it be kept secure and private.
In this survey, adults gave the loud and clear message that they feel it’s important to have control and limits on the data collected about them. We can expect that the adults that today’s students become will have similar views about their own information. As children they have almost no capacity to control or limit the information collected about them, how long it’s kept, or how well it’s protected.
It’s up to us — the adults — to look out for their interests, with the same level of importance we place on looking after our own information.