Privacy Everywhere 2022 Conference: What You Need to Know

Students looking at phone in Grainger Engineering Library

While online privacy, and the need for it, has become increasingly important in recent years, it is especially important now to consider privacy and privacy decisions beyond the individual. This January, I had the opportunity to attend the 2022 Privacy Everywhere Conference: The Promise of Privacy. I attended the less technical track, where they brought up issues such as privacy as a collective action problem, the future of privacy in educational technology, privacy in the Illinois App, and privacy in cloud computing. Here are some key takeaways that highlight the conversation surrounding privacy and higher education today.

Governing Privacy in Knowledge Commons”

In this presentation, Madelyn Sanfillippo shared information from her new book “Governing Privacy in Knowledge Commons”, about collective action and how it can be used to shape privacy policy in the future. She first discussed the real cost of privacy, namely the human resource hours it would take to read privacy policies and understand them fully, which adds up to approximately $781 billion. Sanfillippo then explained how privacy is a collective action problem and how personal information, and its availability, can have a drastic impact on how governments shape policy. Interested? You can read a free copy of “Governing Privacy in Knowledge Commons” online now. 

Privacy and the Future of Ed Tech”

In this conversation, Daisy Bennett and Monica Casanova, members of the Canvas Privacy Team, talk about how complex it is to maintain privacy in educational technology spaces as well as some of their privacy policy predictions for the future. First, they reviewed the plethora of laws, federal and state, put in place to protect the privacy of students. While these are a bit of a legal web that’s difficult to comb through, these laws are necessary to protect students while using their technology. 

In terms of the future, Bennett and Casanova predict that the laws will still have to catch up to the technological advances that are constantly popping up. While state and federal laws will continue to struggle for consistency, the two predict that transparency will be a crucial corporate value in the coming years. They understand that companies are trying to regain the trust of their consumers and that comes with increased transparency. 

Finally, the team left us with a few general best practices. They advise individuals to, first, understand that there is a privacy/convenience trade-off in using some of our favorite services. They also recommend making sure you consider all types of data (contacts, camera and photo, and geolocation data) and also use long and unique passwords. Finally, they suggest everyone delete unused apps, conduct regular updates, and set the privacy levels to personal comfort. 

“Privacy in the Illinois App”

Bill Sullivan presented on privacy in the Illinois App. He first discussed how third party apps take your data without your informed consent, give it to a data broker, and then sell it to a variety of ad companies who want to bombard you with their products. However, with the Illinois App, users do not have to worry about their privacy and data being compromised. The Illinois App uses a unique privacy slider, which lets you share more or less of your data with the app. Sullivan explained how the app highlights transparency and puts control into the hands of the users by explicitly telling them what aspects of their data will be shared and with whom. We’ve talked about the Illinois app before, so if you’d like to learn more about it, check out our article on the Illinois App’s New Features.

“Towards a Comprehensive Criteria for Privacy Protections”

In the next presentation, Masooda Bashir discussed a recent publication on privacy in cloud computing. We’ve all heard about things being “on the cloud”, but how safe is it really? Bashir talks through his proposed idea for keeping the cloud safe: a Comprehensive Criteria for Privacy Protection (C2P2) framework. It has been developed through qualitative analysis and evaluation of ten major privacy-related documents. Right now, the framework has found 107 unique privacy criteria across 13 different categories. According to Bashir, this framework has the potential to be the first step in creating an inclusive privacy standard that can be used to protect everyone, everywhere. 

For more information about the conference, including session summaries and speaker biographies, visit Privacy Everywhere Conference website.