We have to be careful around the data we share about ourselves, we need to be thoughtful about the data we collect and share about others and how we store and use that information. In the secondary years, there are many opportunities where students could be collecting data about others. Perhaps via research projects (e.g. surveys, interviews) or via their programming projects that ask users to enter data about themselves e.g. login information to access an app/site, data that users input as they interact with a program (e.g. photos or last location).
In industry and workplaces, there are strict policies, codes of conduct and requirements that advise how human data (including for research purposes) are collected, stored and used, for example Australia’s National Statement on Ethical Conduct in Human Research. These are very complex documents used by professionals, however, students can start to think critically about how data is involved in their own projects within the classroom, with guidance from the teacher, abiding by relevant Collection Notices as part of school sector Privacy Policies (e.g. Vic Department of Education and Training as an example).
Considering how data is handled, stored and used during the design and project process is critical. In the design of their projects, students should consider:
- What types of data is being collected (about people, places and things)?
- What is personal and private information? Is all the data collected necessary and useful?
- What tools are being used and what are the data and security terms and conditions? (e.g. programming platform or survey tool)
- How is the identity of participants/users protected?
- How are participants/users informed about any data collection and storage strategies?
- Who has authorised access to the data? (e.g. a team, individual, teacher)
- What would be the implication or risks if someone unauthorised had access to the data?
- How and where will students collect and store the information so that it is kept safe from unauthorised users?
- What happens to the data once the project has ended? (e.g. deleted or kept with the teacher)
Within research or programming projects, students can also design user-facing information (e.g. a consent form or an app/program ‘Terms and Conditions’ information page) that explain how participant/user data is to be collected, used and stored; demonstrating good design and security practices. He following diagram visualises the basic elements of a computer network. As shown in the video, all digital systems within a network, laptops, tablets and mobile phones, are called nodes and are connected together with either wired or wireless connections called links.
The two most important basic elements of a computer network are the switch and router.
- Switches facilitate the connection between all the devices in a small network.
- Routers facilitate the connection of multiple switches and their connected networks, to form an even larger network. The router allows networked devices and users to connect to the Internet.
Network security consists of the policies and practices adopted to prevent and monitor unauthorised access of a computer network, routers and other network-related resources. Network security includes protection of data and application in the network from cyber attacks (e.g. anti-malware), virtual private networks, firewall protection and network access control policies.
Firewalls: A building might have a digital password system or a security guard as a first point of defence and our computers are protected from intruders with ‘firewalls’.
Firewalls act to protect computer networks in the same way as a wall stops the spread of a fire. A firewall can be a software or hardware. It monitors the network traffic and maintains a set of rules to decide whether the data packets (e.g. files, email) can pass through the firewall into the network (e.g. LAN) computer system from another network (e.g. Internet) or whether they should be blocked or discarded.
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