As students, scholars, and administrators use today’s connected online tools, they leave behind a “data exhaust” that can reveal a surprisingly detailed picture of individual activities and identities. This can enable useful personalization of services, but it also raises difficult questions about privacy and intellectual autonomy. The public policy debate over online privacy is in transition, from an older model based on assumptions about static databases to a newer model based on a “big data” world of large data sets, frequent interchange, and powerful analytic tools. We will review the general state of public policy debates about online privacy, and then turn the focus to specific issues facing higher education. Is privacy necessary for intellectual freedom? Should institutions take proactive steps to protect privacy as their constituents use interactive tools? What are the special challenges in online education?
*This presentation is part of an EDUCAUSE Live! Game Changers Spotlight Series focusing on higher education in the connected age.