Digital Privacy Lecture

Sonia Arrison, from the Pacific Research Institute came to speak on the campus last week. There was a good turnout, driven in part by Gary Ozanich and I encouraging our undergraduate students to attend, and a good showing of students from the Masters in Informatics program. (Some comments on the lecture from students in my Media Law class can be found here.) A bunch of students (most of them) left directly after Ms. Arrison’s comments, which I thought was really very rude to the two respondents, but what can you do.

I would have preferred that Ms. Arrison delved a bit more deeply into current issues and what she considers to be effective solutions. I suspect she was aiming for a very general audience, which is good–especially considering the number of undergrads there who may not have had any grounding in issues of privacy. But it did come off as a bit of a laundry list of existing issues, rather than a critical analysis or assessment. For example, had she talked in more depth about privacy audits in industry, or directly about the USAPA and its current affects on how law enforcement does its business, or on the current state of crypto as a counter to government incursions on liberty, I think this would have made for a much more interesting lecture. In other words, since she was coming from a “think tank” I wish I had gotten a feel for what she and her colleagues were “thinking” about the issues. I think if she had spoken in a bit more depth on some of the issues she has written about, it would have made for a more interesting lecture.

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2 Comments

  1. Posted 2/16/2003 at 5:49 pm | Permalink

    I think she took a sweeping approach because I couldn’t give her a specific target audience. I would have liked to hear more details about some of what she and her colleagues are doing at PRI. I really think we could have used more time for questions, I had so many I wanted to ask! I would have liked to hear more from Dr. Ghosh too. All in all, I like the format of a presentation and a reactor panel, I think it could provide some interesting dialogue for the SOI.

  2. Posted 2/17/2003 at 11:06 pm | Permalink

    First off: Barb, good job once again.

    I think the only way to really draw student interest in this kind of presentations would be to have them use it for some assignment or project. Aligning student interest with the school’s interest is the only way to go.

    I found the talk informative and timely. The relevance is actually incredible… data mining (TIA), politics (Patriot Act I & II) and so on. Somehow the point of the presentation wasn’t driven home to the students (undergrads and grads)… most of them seem to think it’s a waste of time instead of having passionate interest in the subject matter.

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