Forums | Mahara Community
Protect online persona from 'digital murder'
23 February 2011, 2:54 PM
I think this article is interesting, http://www.zdnetasia.com/mycube-protect-online-persona-from-digital-murder-62204947.htm
and I wonder how an initiative like Mahara can contribute to helping people to take personal responsibility and control of their own digital identity. And how can Mahara help free students from the Facebook control? Example: Import option of Facebook profile... to Mahara profile?
What are your thoughts?
23 February 2011, 3:37 PM
Thanks for the article - it does align with our thinking indeed. For a start, a Mahara User can do a complete back-up of their portfolio and delete their account off any Mahara installation. You can never truly delete your data off Facebook! Our privavcy settings are so much stronger too and ePortfolios are intrinsically linked to digital identity of course so we are mindful of the power of commercialisation.
23 February 2011, 10:23 PM
When a user deletes their account does Mahara also delete any artefacts left behind on the server? If so, it might be good to have a message to this effect after the user chooses to delete.
If you delete your account, your profile information and your Views will no longer be visible to other users and any of your artefacts on the server will be deleted. The content of any forum posts you have written will still be visible, but the author's name will no longer be displayed.
23 February 2011, 6:13 PM
A key feature of Mahara is that most data is private until the user makes it public. We have however noticed a tendency to use the 'profile' as an ePortfolio and sometimes I have noticed (in my opinion anyway) private details that probably should not be there (such as phone numbers, address etc).The strength of Mahara is that it is so versatile and allows the user to accomplish so much. This also makes it complicated to learn. Each part is simple enough, but there are so many parts!! There is no easy answer to this though and the Mahara community is well aware of it (thus mooted changes in 1.4). Currently I see the greatest (privacy) vulnerability is in the profile though and this can only be addressed by teachers having a good understanding of how Mahara works so they can provide advice to students. Too often I see comments from our users such as 'yet another course and the lecturer expects us to learn yet another program and they don't have a clue themselves'.
The University of Reading has for a number of years now championed the 'This is me' project. This is a fantastic initiative that provides a free workbook that you can customise from school/workplace and it is about helping to map your digital identity.
The other side of this issue is also worth considering - that is institutional privacy paranoia. Mahara is (among other things as well) a social networking platform. I have had fights at my own University trying to get access for outsiders to access my classes in Moodle. There are huge benefits in encouraging students to network beyond their classrooms. I am currently conducting a group project with my student’s peers in France which is really exciting but I am doing it outside of my institutions LMS and our Mahara.
Digital privacy is very important, but digital identity management is a lot easier to achieve and ultimately a lot more useful. My 14y.o. has finally got her Facebook page, and I have gone to great lengths to explain to her that if she wants comments kept private, she should not write them in the first place. Explaining that comments made now may impact on a job interview in ten years is equally important but harder to get across.