A connected world requires us to travel in different digital dimensions.
There is a strange coincidence I noticed as I inserted the image above into my blog post entry about privacy. Two of the four images which make up the Portals to Other Dimensions are the same blue as the header in Digging Out of a Digital Hole. At first I found it surprising, when I initially thought of using the photograph, I didn’t realize there was a single blue, let alone two. The significance struck me shortly after as they represent perfectly; two avatars in my digital domain. I always imagined these archways led to somewhere fabulous; their Sci-Fi, spacey feel, allude to time traveling and parallel lives in alternate Universes.
The dark blue represents my educational journey. A deep colour now coming to the fore in sharing my Certificate of Educational Technology and Information Literacy (CoETaIL). Its resonance blankets professional development, my pedagogy and who I strive to be as an educator. It is the skill and love of learning exemplified.
The lighter blue is my teacher-self. The digital footprint of myself as an in-class practitioner. The header shows the lightest blue closest to the vacuum, symbolizing the process of learning and my growing imprint inside the digital world. Look no further than the this site to see the exponential increase in content contributed to my educational environment. Radical. My blog, Twitter, Instagram, Google Sites, GAFE environment and soon-to-be certification added to the toolbox. Next academic year, it will be iPads in Grade 2. The digital black hole is always hungry.
The serene green represents peaceful interactions with information and media during recreational time on the internet. Sharing pictures, listening to music, communicating with friends, or other areas which make up our personal lives. The joy of technology lives here.
The red represents anger, or more accurately, danger in the digital domain. It’s pink hues serve as a warning, a caution to have a mind, when embarking on adventures in technology. The hazard light demonstrates the need for prudence, shows the relevance of the content of Course 2 and the question of whether privacy even exists anymore.
Every minute, every day these are the interactions which take place on the internet.
Of course it doesn’t, privacy is dead. And it is not coming back anytime soon. Digital profiles begin before birth and are well-established by the later stages of childhood. Primary school students widely participate in a connected world and have never known any different. The net never forgets. Most users understand that concept, certainly most of those born into the computer age have a decent understanding. Infrequent users and those which generally count as the older slice of the population are generally the most at-risk. True, users at the beginning of the curve, such as young teens and middle school students, have sharp learning curves; but these are commonly counterbalanced by a comprehensive digital citizenship program.
There really are too many platforms to be private anymore. We are clearly digitally entrenched and usage is no longer measured daily but hourly. Wearable technology is the wave currently breaking over the market, with the true prize of embedded technology on the near horizon. A device is all anyone needs to engage with the connected world. Apps are glorified hyperlinks which access library books, newspapers, video chats, movie tickets, concerts, flights and thousands of programs to help manage your life. To dominate your life. Knowledge at your fingertips is already here, what’s next? Changes that were almost incomprehensible not too long ago; those that were mocked as wild science fiction, are already possible though often not yet commercially available.
The deductive reasoning skills of Sherlock Holmes are no longer needed to follow the trails of digital breadcrumbs.
It will be merely a matter of time, perhaps a decade, until humans embed technology inside their bodies. Designed to allow people to access bank accounts, health information, birth certificates, passports and nationality. The “Homo sapiens barcode” allows seamless passage through the future world. Our unique data point will allow us to drive cars, purchase goods and services or unlock doors. Or, one day when we cannot get the skeleton key in the lock, it won’t. The same technology used to eliminate barriers, can be used in reverse to create borders and discriminate. Governments, branches of security, banks and businesses all have our data. Theft of our personal information and cyber crime will be the single biggest threat to the world, second only to climate change. There are 77 apps on my phone. I just checked. Trails of breadcrumbs strewn across the technoverse which creates a far more detailed picture of ourselves than we can imagine.
Often the purpose of our digital footprint is to be found, not concealed.
GPS already tracks our exact location while our spending habits are predicted to the point where we now receive personal advertisements based on our browsing history. Privacy has passed. No longer valid is the novelist Gabriel García Márquez’s quote “All human beings have three lives: public, private, and secret.”
So what to do the face of such overwhelming evidence that maintaining privacy is impossible? Embrace it, welcome it, manipulate it. Being aware of how to protect yourself now and looking to constantly adapt with the technology. The rate of progress and change is staggering. Look at the innovations in the last 10 years and recognize that the next 10 will also entail radical developments, as yet unforeseen or predicted. I am confident that people are continually developing the ability to change along with it. As computer literacy sky rockets across the world and access is considered a human right; users, providers and creators are making themselves more and more aware of how to limit their vulnerability. Minds which look to exploit privacy are continually offset with even greater numbers in the counter balance. Privacy may be passe, but security of your digital profile is certainly not.