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Volume 3 Number 9

U.S.Coast Guard AVDET 157 welcomes the opportunity during deployment to the South Pole to communicate with classrooms across the United States. Throughout the voyage, aviation personnel will correspond with schools that are interested in Operation Deep Freeze...
Teachers.Net Teams with U.S. Coast Guard Operation Deep Freeze from The Editor, Kathleen Carpenter
Homework as an Issue in American Politics by Etta Kralovec & John Buell
Preparing for the One Year Anniversary by David J. Schonfeld, MD
The Anniversary of September 11th: Teachers' Guide for Talking to Your Students from the National Center For Children Exposed To Violence
Books About September 11, 2001 by Kathleen Carpenter, Editor
Privacy in a Technological Age by Dr. Rob Reilly
Relational Discipline by Bill Page
Teachers Are Individuals Too by Bill Page
Veteran Educators Share Tips for New Teachers Compiled by Jerry Taylor
Learning Centers - 3 Helpful Threads from the NEW Learning Centers Chatboard
Bits and Pieces - Various Small Articles by The Teachers.Net Community
  • For School Administrators and Teachers:
    A Book and Planting Activity for Beginning the School Year
  • Ideas for Open House
  • Breaking the Ice in 7th Grade
  • Book Recommendation
  • Favorite Kid Quotes
  • Uses for Old Business Cards
  • What Makes a Truly Great Principal? A chatboard survey initiated by "TLC"
    A Word Wall Story by Louise/2/Albuquerque
    Teaching Gayle To Read (Part 7) by Grace Vyduna-Haskins
    Girls Will Be Girls: Raising Confident and Courageous Daughters by JoAnn Deak
    Dear Old Golden Rule Days, Chapter 3 - Music by Janet Farquhar
    Emphasis On Testing Leads To Sacrifices In Other Areas by Alfie Kohn
    Pension Loophole Exploited by Allen Pusey - The Dallas Morning News
    Focus on After-School Time for Violence Prevention from: ERIC Clearinghouse
    Beyond Books: Making the Most of Today's Library Resources by Cindy Rogers
    Master Teachers Have Healthy Self-Esteems by Glenn Dietzel
    Distance Learning and Disabled Students by Jeff Redding
    September Columns
    September Regular Features
    September Informational Items
    Gazette Home Delivery:

    About Dr. Rob Reilly...
    Dr. Rob Reilly is the computer education teacher at the Lanesborough Elementary School in Lanesborough, Massachusetts USA. He is also a Visiting Scientist at the MIT Media Lab in Cambridge, Massachusetts, where he is conducting NSF funded research in the area of affective computing, emotions and learning. He has been a Visiting Scientist at MIT's Center for Educational Computing Initiatives, a Post Doctoral Research Associate at the University of Massachusetts' Office of Information Technologies, and a Teaching Associate, at the School of Education at the University of Massachusetts. His email address is: His Web site is:

    Teachers.Net Tech Center...
    Teachers.Net features a number of specialized tools designed to help teachers easily integrate technology in their classroom and lives. The Teachers.Net Tech Center includes four specialized tech-related chatboards, three tech mailrings, and a Web Developers Solution Center for developing the hottest website possible, no matter what your skill level. Be sure to check out each of the specialized tools listed below for teachers eager to embrace new technology!
    Teacher Tech Chatboards...
    Teachers.Net offers four specialized chatboards for technology support for educators. The Comp/Tech Chatboard provides access to a huge network of tech-savvy teachers from around the planet. The Apple Classroom Chatboard is the place to brainstorm ideas and solutions for teachers using Apple products in the classroom. The Ed Software Chatboard connects teachers seeking information and advice regarding the latest educational software (as well as the timeless favorites). Visit each of these specialized chatboards and bookmark and contribute often!
    Teacher Tech Mailrings...
    Teachers.Net has three mailrings designed to help teachers quickly learn the secrets to the technical challenges demanded by the new millenuium. Visit the Teachers.Net Mailring webpage and subscribe to the Web Authors Mailring, the Apple Teachers Mailring, and the Computer Teacher Mailring.
    Teacher Feature...

    Privacy in a Technological Age

    by Dr. Rob Reilly

    More and more we are seeing that commercial Web sites are posting clickable privacy policy. I wonder how many people actually read them; I wonder how many people understand what 'privacy' is intended to be. I also wonder if the commercial enterprises actually abide by their privacy statements, I wonder if we'd even be aware of a privacy violation if it bite us in the touhus! It seems that no one really has a sound understanding of privacy as it now relates to the Internet and the Web---for example, how it relates to technology's ability to keep records of people who visit a given Web site, to delve into our personal information, or to eavesdrop on us in the workplace. Bick notes that "despite the importance attributed to privacy by the general public, a unified set of Internet privacy rights has yet to emerge."1

    Let me step back in time and review the evolution of our concept of privacy. Privacy is not mentioned in the U.S. Constitution but over the years courts have noted its presence and privacy has thus evolved. The concept of 'privacy' first came to our national attention via a Harvard Law Review article written by Samuel Warren and Louis Brandeis in 18902 entitled The Right to Privacy, which essentially described the right to privacy as "the right to be let alone."3 This article has become the seminal document from which 'privacy' has flowed. According to Shapiro, The Right to Privacy is the most cited law review article.4

    Warren and Brandeis touch upon principles that are being revisited today in regard to rights on computer networks. When Warren and Brandeis pondered the issues of their day, the same legal tenets applied. In 1960, William L. Prosser strengthened Brandeis and Warren's theory by publishing an article5 in the California Law Review tracing more than 300 cases germane to the evolution of the right to privacy.6 The influence of the works of Warren and Brandeis, and Prosser, contributed greatly to the recognition of that which we view as our 'right of privacy'---a right to seclude ourselves from the public.

    In their day Warren and Brandeis were confronted with similar issues---expanding the understanding needed to craft/broaden statutes to accommodate new technology. Today, just as Warren and Brandeis did, we are dealing with technology that is moving beyond the current scope and understanding of existing statutes. It is therefore quite important to revisit this seminal law review article and follow Warren and Brandeis's lines of reasoning so that we may apply their thinking to today's quandaries and dilemmas.

    When our nation began, the law provided legal remedy only for actual "physical interference with life and property, for trespasses."7 Warren and Brandeis believed that the concept that the "individual [should] have full protection in person and in property is a principle as old as the common law."8 They also state that it is necessary "from time to time to define anew the exact nature and extent of such protection."9 Warren and Brandeis were attempting to lay a foundation to allow the existing legal philosophy to grow to accommodate changing circumstances.

    The Right to Privacy of the Modern Day

    The state and federal legislatures have attempted to deal with the issue of 'privacy' but there have been problems. Many of those problems flow from a lack of understanding of what 'privacy' was intended to do. So the problem in legislating policy is to define and protect privacy and that it is difficult because it is difficult to conceptualize privacy.

    Authors of philosophical and legal works about privacy emphasize that their subject is difficult to define.10 Alan Westin's book Privacy and Freedom begins: "Few values so fundamental to society as privacy have been left so undefined in social theory or have been the subject of such vague and confused writing by social scientists."11 Judith Jarvis Thompson's article The Right to Privacy opens: "Perhaps the most striking thing about the right to privacy is that nobody seems to have any very clear idea what it is."12 Similarly, C. Herman Pritchett, in his forward to David O' Brien's book Privacy, Law, and Public Policy states: "Privacy is a confusing and complicated idea."13 "These difficulties in conceptualizing privacy not only are of philosophical importance but also have profound implications for the formulation of public policy to protect privacy."14 In the American tradition, there are "two types of rights---civil liberties and civil rights. Privacy is defined as a civil liberty---a right to be free of outside interference,"15 or as Berlin terms it, a "negative liberty."16 Vincent Samar also makes the point that "legal privacy is a species of negative freedom"17---if you have 'privacy' then you have a self-imposed state of seclusion---the opposite of 'privacy.' If you have 'privacy' then you are removed from the public---some may argue that 'privacy' is the opposite of 'freedom'---if you're in one state you can't be in the other.

    Defining a problem in terms of rights has been a potential resource for many issues - civil rights, women's rights, rights of the disabled. But these issues involve rights to some benefit of status and are defined not in terms of an atomistic individual but an individual as a member of a group.18 Because privacy is seen as an individual interest and choice, ambiguities about its meaning exist. It is assumed that different people define privacy differently. Tien notes that "[p]rivacy can be a huge can of worms ¼ analyzing it as a conceptual problem ¼ often becomes a mess of conflicting statements that everyone agrees on."19

    Bruce Sterling states that: "Cyberspace demand[s] a new set of metaphors, rules and behaviors."20 The problem is that 'privacy' is not a legal issue, it's really a matter of civility. It's a matter of a person adhering to a social contract, which law does not encompass, let alone enforce. The law is too weak, by its nature, to be able to fully encompass matters of civility. We can't look to the law to create privacy protections that actually work. People respect our privacy and if they don't it's not a legal matter, it's a civility issue. So long as we believe that the law is the mechanism that will protect our 'privacy' we will be forever frustrated, dissatisfied, and disappointed. We must begin to view the concept of 'privacy' in another light. We cannot expect that companies will enforce their privacy policies, we must be aware that to insure our own 'privacy' we should assume the responsibility to safeguard our personal information from anyone we do not wish to have it. We must also assume that giving any information to entities on the Web will cause them to propagate to thousands of other places.


    1. Jonathan Bick, 101 Things You Nedd to Know About Internet Law, Three Rivers Press: New York, 2000.
    2. Samuel Warren and Louis Brandeis, The Right to Privacy, 4 Harv. L. Rev. 193, (1890).
    3. Warren and Brandeis at 193.
    4. Shaprio, Fred R. (1987). The most cited law review articles. Buffalo, NY: W. Hein Co.
    5. Dean Prosser, Privacy, 48 Cal. L. Rev. 383 (1960).
    6. William C. Bier. (1980). Privacy: A vanishing value? New York: Fordham Univ. Press, page 93.
    7. Warren and Brandeis at 193.
    8. Warren and Brandeis at 193.
    9. Warren and Brandeis at 193.
    10. Regan, page 3.
    11. Alan Westin. (1967). Privacy and freedom. New York: Anthenum Press, page 3.
    12. Judith Jarvis Thompson. (1995, Summer). The right to privacy. Philosophy and Public Affairs, 4(4), page 4.
    13. David M. O'Brien. (1979). Privacy, law, and public policy. New York: Praeger, page vii.
    14. Regan, page 4.
    15. Regan, page 5.
    16. Isaiah Berlin, Two concepts of liberty, in Four essays on liberty. (1969). London: Oxford University Press, page 118-172.
    17. Vincent Samar, (1993). The right to privacy: Gays, lesbians, and the constitution. Philadelphia, PA: Temple University Press, page 53.
    18. Regan, page 4.
    19. Lee Tien (personal e-mail, March 17, 1996).
    20. Bruce Sterling. (1995). The hacker crackdown. New York: Bantam Books, page 208.

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