Taking Control of Your Personal Data

Rated 5 out of 5 by from Best course I’ve watched so far. Best course I’ve watched so far. Clear explanations, great examples of data privacy concerns.
Date published: 2021-03-17
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Excellent! I've learned a LOT from Dr. Golbeck! This course, along with the "Misinformation" course, are vitally important to an informed populace - especially when "fake news" and prevarication seem to be gaining general acceptance. Thank you, Dr. Golbeck!
Date published: 2020-12-15
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Good content for on line computer user The course covers a wide range of privacy issues. As such it is very useful for people wh are not aware of their exposure to information gathering and use.
Date published: 2020-09-08
Rated 3 out of 5 by from Poor dvd It was difficult to load this dvd. Had no problem with other DVD’s.
Date published: 2020-09-02
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Shocking Admittedly I'm out of the loop but this series is a major eye opener! I will never shop at Target or other large retailers again without thinking how completely creepy their algorithms are. Wow. Yes there are also some positive uses for these algorithms but overall it's invasive and unwanted. Big thanks to this interesting professor. Video is not necessary to understand content.
Date published: 2020-08-18
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Good theory lecture but given the title of Take Control, weak on practical application. Good presentation. It quickly becomes apparent that the basic problem is political, even before the European GDPR is mentioned. The $5 billion Facebook fine is mentioned, but no evidence that the fine was ever paid, or that the company was not allowed to deduct it as just a cost of doing business. Nor any evidence that the state laws enacted have ever actually been enforced. So no evidence of any actual control. Recommended, there is a great deal of good information in spite of the limitations.
Date published: 2020-07-16
Rated 5 out of 5 by from How did the lecturer know I'd like this? Her information is fascinating but there was one thing that made it difficult to watch,i.e., she frequently isn't looking directly at the camera but rather at something about 15 degrees to her right. Just look at the whites of her eyes. Great info but hard to watch.
Date published: 2020-05-17
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Perfect Name The internet is becoming so confusing and invasive that I was becoming very confused as to things that were going on. This package was very informative and complete with teaching how to take charge of our confusing home intrusion that is going on. Thanks to Great Courses
Date published: 2020-05-13
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Taking Control of Your Personal Data
Course Trailer
How Your Data Tells Secrets
1: 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
2: 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
3: 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
4: 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
5: 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
6: 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
7: 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
8: 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
9: 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
Jennifer Golbeck

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


University of Maryland, College Park


University of Maryland, College Park

About Jennifer Golbeck

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.

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