Can't say the NSA/PRISM security services surveillance controversy has got me very hot under the collar. Maybe its just that I struggle to get excited about Big Brother-esque snooping, when privacy is something of a redundant concept these days - CCTV is everywhere in the UK, even in Welsh forests!
Though phone tapping is another issue, I have always taken it for granted that electronic communication is a public forum. Though I must admit I have broken my own rule a few times in the heat of the moment, I would never send an email or put a post on Twitter or Facebook that I wouldn't be happy for the whole world to see (including MI5 and Mr Gove). Which is why I am taken aback by those who very obviously perceive that these are private means of communication - they are not!SXC.hu
Only the other day, I had a very reputable company requesting that I send financial details via email (I didn't). Last night's BBC Question Time audience (made up entirely of 16 and 17 year old 'digital natives') were getting very exercised by the idea that the security services might take a look at their Facebook accounts! If they genuinely think that social media is a secure means of communication, then our e-safety education is seriously flawed. And maybe it is? Perhaps the emphasis on caution, secure passwords and restrained profiles gives the impression that social media and digital communication can be private and safe if we do the right things. Yes, being e-safe is important in terms of avoiding contact by undesirables or those outside your social circle, but it doesn't mean that posts and images are private. Whether it be for the greater good or not, the state has the potential to see everything posted online, so we need to get over it ...
Tony Pickford is a tutor and writer on primary education.