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Taking Control of Your Personal Data

Shields up! Build a personal force field to keep your personal information safe, sound, and untouchable.
Taking Control of Your Personal Data is rated 4.4 out of 5 by 34.
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Rated 5 out of 5 by from Excellent Material As a computer professional I thought I new a lot about security. This course is an eyeopener and gave me many good, and new, pointers.
Date published: 2023-01-18
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Wait for their best sale of the year! I have made numerous purchases; I have learned however to be patient and wait for the yearly supet sale where ALL courses are a maximum of $20.00 each. Early on, I made several relatively high dollar purchases only to learn months later their super sale was a fraction of what I originally paid.
Date published: 2022-09-04
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Important Cyber Security Safeguards The professor stays on topic and offers many tips on protecting personal digital devices and while surfing around on various websites. Like it or not, we are able to take many steps, but total protection is still in limbo.
Date published: 2022-09-04
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Very Important Issue facing Society I found this course to be one of the most interesting subjects that I have taken and care deeply about.
Date published: 2021-11-25
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Taking Control of Your Personal Data Very informative. Professor did a great job of presenting the material and giving examples.
Date published: 2021-11-18
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Very informative This course definitely opened my eyes to ways my personal data is collected, used and potentially abused. The presenter was organized in thought and easy to follow in the lectures. Her expertise was evident in her examples. I can use her insight to make meaningful changes in my personal data availability. Although possibly too much for this lecture series and too basic, showing screen shots of steps to make some of the suggested changes would be a great addition.
Date published: 2021-11-15
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Thou Shalt Steal GOLBECK’S easy to comprehend course concerns Internet risks and the ability to mitigate them. The bottom line: anything you do on the Internet profiles you for marketing (or worse). After Medicare's first attempted computerization mandate at the turn of the century, I wrote a VB-5 background program underneath Microsoft Word in a closed electronic system, computerizing records, prescriptions, etc. for my medical office. But we have now transitioned from closed systems with no possibility of "viruses", web theft, or loss of records to a situation virtually without control or penalty to the transgressor. Although there is no "turning back", Ms Golbeck's well-organized material may help you decrease your risk. THE COURSE highlights Internet follies like: [Lecture 2 (L2)] "5400 hidden app trackers receiving data" found on a single cell phone. The net may be amusing, but Golbeck has nailed the irresponsible lack of oversight. She has exposed the sad ways that enormous amounts of information are stolen from you, how impossible it is to stop, and the enormous effort you must make to gain even a modicum of theft prevention. Golbeck also points to the future folly of our current system when she discusses mass surveillance. She is extremely helpful in naming programs that COULD be used to mitigate some of the current pitfalls. But, let's face it; few will make such extreme efforts. BOTTOM LINES: L1: Unlike in Europe, you do not own any data you put on the US internet; L2: Even your "erasures" can be stored, it can build your profile from what your "friends" say, "shadow profiling" occurs without apps, and some apps can turn on your microphone - eliminating privacy entirely. L5: Modern cookies track you across websites and aggregate information. She describes ways you are tracked even without cookies and now large advertisers embed information on a majority of web pages that enable them to track all you do. L6 tells of a case where non-physician equipment providers were able to steal personal health care information. In the past, one lost their operating license for such "need to know" malpractice. And on she goes... THOUGHTS: 1.] (L1) Algorithms are not magical, nor is being "right 80% of the time" reasonable. AI is produced with intention and if one irresponsibly "doesn't understand" how a result could occur, the algorithm needs to be trashed, not excused as a "Wizard behind the Curtain". 2.] Course material could be integrated with several TGC economics courses (Taylor's America & the Global Economy, etc). Why? Today's headlines prove that America actually produces few physical goods. Instead, TOO MANY earn a living by carving out a "spot" in computerized money flows. For example, if you tell a hospital that you have no insurance and are paying cash, you may suddenly find that your test price declines 80-90%. This obscene "margin" is the computerized cut for insurance, government, and all other "players" who have zero "hands on" medical involvement. The Internet is their suction pipe. 3.] On a larger scale, the Chinese have figured out that Americans make little themselves but survive via Internet manipulations (a prime source of Internet income according to Golbeck). This does not bode well. SUMMARY: 1.) Golbeck's many good suggestions partially address the lack of Federal Internet protection but you'd require much effort to acquire such protections. The question then becomes: is the Internet really a time saver? Are its gains worth the costs of equipment, technicians, third parties, theft of data, and loss of privacy? 2.) The Guidebook is one of TGC's best - no Transcript needed. 3.) This course wonderfully exposes the reality of the internet's porosity, provides partial solutions for the ambitious, and a way to talk to your elected officials. SOLUTIONS proposed: 1.) Either reduce Internet exposure and migrate to (L11) European GDPR-like standards OR 2.) Spend an enormous amount of time, effort, and cash outlay to pay for risk mitigation. Listen to Golbeck, she’s trying to help you.
Date published: 2021-11-09
Rated 1 out of 5 by from Taking Control of Your Personal Data Does not allow downgliding despite indicating it does. Nothing new in these lectures.
Date published: 2021-11-04
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Follow an expert in data analytics to learn how to best protect your privacy online.


Jennifer Golbeck

I’m here to help you understand what’s going on with your personal information.


University of Maryland, College Park

Jennifer Golbeck is a Professor in the College of Information Studies and Director of the Social Intelligence Lab at the University of Maryland, College Park. She received an AB in Economics and an SB and SM in Computer Science at the University of Chicago, as well as a Ph.D. in Computer Science from the University of Maryland, College Park. Professor Golbeck began studying social media from the moment it emerged on the web, and she is one of the world’s foremost experts in the field. Her research has influenced industry, government, and the military. She is a pioneer in the field of social data analytics and discovering people’s hidden attributes from their online behavior, and she is a leader in creating human-friendly security and privacy systems.
Professor Golbeck is the author of several print and online publications, including the books Analyzing the Social Web, Online Harassment, Introduction to Social Media Investigation: A Hands-on Approach, and Computing with Social Trust. She is a frequent contributor on NPR. Her TED Talk on what social media “likes” can reveal was featured in TED’s 2014 Year in Ideas.

By This Professor

Taking Control of Your Personal Data
Taking Control of Your Personal Data


How Your Data Tells Secrets

01: How Your Data Tells Secrets

You probably know that anything you post on the internet is fair game; it can be used by advertisers, political parties, and others to target you with messages. Learn what else they use—from scratches on your camera lens in your pictures to a “like” from a friend-of-a-friend—to learn about you in unexpected detail and to predict your future behavior with surprising accuracy.

31 min
The Mechanics of Data Harvesting

02: The Mechanics of Data Harvesting

No matter how careful you are about your online presence, information can be uncovered about you from data you didn’t even know was being collected. One Washington Post reporter discovered that within one week, 5,400 hidden apps and trackers had received data from his phone! Learn some steps you can take to limit access to your personal information.

27 min
Privacy Preferences: It’s All about You

03: Privacy Preferences: It’s All about You

How much do you care about your privacy? How concerned are you that specific individuals or groups could access your data? Examine why you must honestly identify your privacy profile before determining how to protect your online presence. Then, you can explore the privacy options that best meet your needs, knowing that it’s always a tradeoff between privacy and convenience.

25 min
The Upside of Personal Data Use

04: The Upside of Personal Data Use

We tend to be comfortable with the internet “knowing” about us when we understand how it acquired our data and how it’s being used. While ads geared to our purchase history might be annoying, we don’t find them nefarious. But you’ll be shocked to learn just how valuable those “recommender” algorithms are to the companies that own them.

21 min
Online Tracking: Yes, You’re Being Followed

05: Online Tracking: Yes, You’re Being Followed

You don’t have to post information about yourself on a social media site to leave a trail of personal information; you’re unwittingly doing that every single time you visit a website—any website. Your IP address, cookies, browser fingerprinting, and more, create and track an electronic trail of your activities. Explore how you can block these trackers and hide your web activity to protect your privacy.

27 min
Nowhere to Hide? Privacy under Surveillance

06: Nowhere to Hide? Privacy under Surveillance

When you accepted that car-tracking device from your auto insurance company, you chose to exchange some privacy for potential discounts. But you’ll be surprised to learn about the many other choices you make that you did not know could invade privacy—from using a medical device in your own bedroom to visiting the directory kiosk in a shopping mall, and much more.

22 min
Consent: The Heart of Privacy Control

07: Consent: The Heart of Privacy Control

When was the last time you thoroughly read and understood the privacy policies of your social media platforms? If you’re like most people, the answer is “never.” But how can you control your personal information if you don’t understand what you’re consenting to? Explore the myriad ways in which a lack of transparency has created societal harm in the past—and potential solutions.

33 min
Data Scandals and the Lessons They Teach

08: Data Scandals and the Lessons They Teach

The website has assured you that your data is secure, so what can go wrong? Learn what the Cambridge Analytica, Google Buzz, and Ashley Madison scandals, among others, have taught us about data security. These debacles resulted in more than just personal inconvenience. Although we can never know the full extent of their effects, we do know lives were at stake.

27 min
The Dark Web: Where Privacy Rules

09: The Dark Web: Where Privacy Rules

Is there any way to keep your comings and goings on the internet completely private? The answer might be the ominous-sounding dark web—not accessible from regular web browsers and not indexed by search engines. Explore the dark web and its Tor browser. Learn exactly how they protect your privacy and why you might, or might not, want to go that route.

23 min
Algorithmic Bias: When AI Gets It Wrong

10: Algorithmic Bias: When AI Gets It Wrong

Algorithms are built to learn from the vast amount of data collected about us for a variety of purposes, including significant decisions addressing employment, mortgage lending, and more. Discover how both the data and the algorithms can include accidental bias. Learn how this bias can impact people’s lives, and what steps can be taken to address the issue.

23 min
Privacy on the Global Stage

11: Privacy on the Global Stage

Europeans legally own all data about themselves, and companies must comply with their wishes. In the United States, two-party communications are protected, but third-party communications (e.g., on Facebook) are not. In China, with an intrusive government, citizens have no expectations of privacy. Explore how these different privacy paradigms affect daily life—from bank loans to dating.

28 min
Navigating the Future of Personal Data

12: Navigating the Future of Personal Data

Examine the case of DNA and the fascinating effects of its changing access, use, and expected privacy—from interesting personal information to help in crime fighting to discrimination. With technology changing so quickly, can any real privacy assurances ever be made? Explore the California Consumer Privacy Act and the ways in which that law could affect all of us, in any U.S. state.

28 min