Where "Is my Data Showing...?" Finds Me

Posted on by Brooke Lester

I have not yet begun this week's "make" for Connected Courses. But, as I eat lunch my office, watching the video, I am reminded that I have a standing promise to teach my 13-year-old this week about OpenPGP and public-key encryption.

He's read Cory Doctorow's Little Brother at school, and is about to start in on Homeland. To keep him in the mood, we're limiting our text-messaging to Telegram, which allows senders to set a self-destruct timer on outgoing texts (reminiscent of Snapchat). For IMing, we create temporary chatrooms using Cryptocat. And, I've got information on VPNs and Tor queued up for when he's worked through the challenges of OpenPGP. Not that I already know anything of substance about these tools; I'm just barely ahead of him, and it takes time (precious time, time I don't really have) to learn it.

So why then? Because I want him to think about what he shares, and who has access to his online activity. And he does. After waiting for years to turn thirteen, and thereby take the keys to a shining new Facebook account, he's decided to hold off: What exactly are all these adults letting themselves in for with this thing? He's thinking. And so am I.

(This post is written for Connected Courses)