What do the apps you use collect about you? How much control over your device and your information are you giving when you download them?  Are you concerned?  Should you be?  Do you take a look at their Privacy Notices or Statements before you download?

Take a look at this video from the #PrivacyProject:

The message: read those Terms & Conditions and Privacy Statements that apps publish before you download or give permission for an app to do something.  If you cannot find a privacy notice or a statement about how they use data or what control you are giving over, think twice before downloading or do more research about that app before using it.

“Ok, Glass.”

Image borrowed from

Have you heard about the new Google Glass?  Basically Google has created these new glasses with a teeny-tiny screen that works much like your smartphone.  You can take photos and video, upload to social media sites, respond to texts, run Google searches, ask for and view directions — and all of this right in front of your eyes at all times and commanded by the simple phrase, “Ok, Glass….”  This the-future-is-here-now concept is being tested by tech bloggers, developers and what Google calls “explorers” around the country as I write this blog entry.  Look for folks walking around with them on in a city near you!  Here’s a review of the product from one guy who gives his take on his “First Day of Being a Glasshole.”

There is lots of chatter out there about both the coolness and simplicity of the new technology and how odd the glasses look.  Saturday Night Live has even gotten in on the action.  (This skit made me laugh out loud!)  But more importantly, one of the broader discussions has been about the privacy implications of the Google Glass concept.  As the technology and design improves, will we even know when someone is wearing these sorts of glasses, or what they are recording and then posting on Facebook or Twitter with the simple nod of their head?

Borrowed from ‘s blog entry, “Will we ignore privacy concerns for the convenience of Google Glass?”

Granted, the concept is really cool, but how do you feel about these gadgets being worn in places where you might otherwise expect some privacy, like a locker room or restroom?  Just how different is this technology from someone using their smartphone surreptitiously to do the same thing?  Apparently different enough that the glasses have already been banned from some bars and from some Las Vegas casinos (though this doesn’t come as a surprise, does it?).  What about when Google Glass invades the classroom?  Will schools be ready to deal with the potential issues the glasses raise in educational environments?  Or will they become the latest high-tech teaching tool?

The Wall Street Journal’s article “Google Glass: An  Etiquette Guide” gives some insight into the technology and provides tips for social etiquette for Google Glass wearers.  What do you think?  Will you be Gaga for Google Glass?  And if so, will you use your new powers responsibly?

So, NOW are you smarter than your smartphone?

(Photo borrowed from Rebecca Herold’s EDUCAUSE presentation materials)

How many of you were able to participate in yesterday’s webinar, “Are You Smarter Than Your Phone?,” by Rebecca Herold sponsored by EDUCAUSE?  If you missed it but still are interested, EDUCAUSE has archived it for your viewing pleasure.

During the webinar, the speaker and attendees shared many great tips and links to resources and articles about the risks of storing data on smartphones, how often phones are stolen and lost, and tips for how protect and manage your data on your smartphones.  Check a few of the suggested links and articles out below:

  • Stolen Smartphones–including what to do if yours is lost or stolen.
  • Do you really need security features on your mobile device?
  • Checklist for securing your smartphone
  • Do you have one of those cool devices where you and your friend (with a similar device) can “bump” phones and share data?

I know I learned a lot yesterday!  Maybe it is time for me to go back to a regular cellphone?  Well… maybe not, but I will certainly be more aware going forward.  How about you?

Are you smarter than your smartphone?

 EDUCAUSE DPM graphics

 The theme of this year’s Data Privacy Month efforts is Respecting Privacy, Safeguarding Data & Enabling Trust.”  Like many other colleges and universities, UConn is partnering with EDUCAUSE to provide you with tools and information to protect yourself, your family, your students and university data.  This month, EDUCAUSE is offering several webinars that are free and open to the higher education community.  We welcome you to participate. Click here for more information on all of the webinars offered this month.

Here is some information about this week’s webinar:

Nearly everyone on a college campus today has a mobile phone, but how should you make use of your smartphone? You are smarter than your phone if you use sound judgment about revealing your location. You’re smarter than your phone if you know you need to think critically about the sensitivity of the data you put on or access through your phone. You are smarter than your phone if you protect it with a password. If you’re not thinking critically about what you do with your phone, we’ll help you think again!

Click here to register.

Mobile Devices and Smartphones


This week, we are focusing on the best ways to ensure that your personal information and data are protected on mobile devices, and in particular, smartphones.  Here are some pointers for protecting yourself on online when you are on the go!

Mobile Devices and Smartphones:

Mobile devices are computers with software that need to be kept up-to-date (just like your PC, laptop or tablet). Take time to make sure all the mobile devices in your house have the latest protections. This may require synching your device with a computer.

  • A 2012 National Security Alliance (NCSA) & McAfee Online Safety Study found that 64% of respondents never installed security software or apps on their smartphone.  If possible, install security software, or utilize security apps that come with your smartphone or mobile device.
  • Check out this video that offers guidance on how to secure your smartphone.
  • Don’t forget to apply security updates on a regular basis!
  • Connect with Care!  Use common sense when you connect. If you’re using a wi-fi hotspot or going online through an unsecured or unprotected network, be cautious about the sites you visit and the information you release.


  • Where available, turn on the password or pin setting so that a login in needed as soon as you turn on the device.  Be sure use a strong or complex password, pin, or pattern to protect both the device itself, and the information you store in it.
  • Create complex passwords for each of your accounts, particularly on mobile devices and never save them in an unsecure location. Click here to learn what a complex password entails or here to check the strength of passwords.


  • Mobile Apps are software programs you can download and access directly using your phone or another mobile device, like a tablet or music player.
  • Only download Apps from secure and recognized sites.
  • Understand your Apps.  Make sure you know what the App does, and what it can access on your mobile device.  Can it access your contacts?  Your location? Your calendar?  Does it capture and/or store credit card or other personal information?
  • Do the Apps you have downloaded use geotagging. While sometimes useful, (like when using your current location to navigate directions), you may also view it as an invasion of privacy. Be careful when you tag your location, especially on social media sites.
  • Not a fan of being tracked?  Here’s how you can turn off geotagging.
  • StaySafeOnline.Org has lots of additional pointers for managing and protecting you information on the go!