Wednesday, October 4

Keep anonymous in campus?

In The Lance, one news is interesting:
Ontario universities have been brought under a provincial privacy act that gives students the right to keep their names private, placing new constraints on everything from attendance forms to how the marks are posted.
The province's Freedom of Information and Privacy Act has been in place for over 18 years, and the Act is to protect personal information of individuals from being disclosed by government organizations. Yes, an educational institution is a government organization, and it should apply to this Act. But it will bring troubles to the campus life. For example, a student's name can't be given without his permission, that means the teacher can not print out an attendance sheet with students' names and ask everybody to sign in, otherwise, the teacher is violating the Act. Also, putting a pile of marked assignment for students to pick up is restrictly prohibited because the students names are showed to other students because everyone's name can be seen by others. This act prohibits professors and staff from publicly displaying any documents that contain a student's name.

The Lance quoted words from Wilfrid Laurier University's privacy officer:
"A university is a community of learners. You come to university not to be anonymous, but to explore your identity. [The Act] is not a perfect fit with this."
He said it was causing major inconveniences in the classroom. It seems that the "privacy officer" is not happy to apply the Act too. But aan officer of the provincial privacy commission doesn't think so. He said people have been pushing for this legislation to be implemented at universities for several years. Universities shouldn't have privilege not to follow the Act, since it is proved to be good practice protecting people's privacy in the last 18 years. He also said the Act has been put into effect at colleges, then "it's just natural for universities to follow". But he admitted because there had been a long process of rejections and appeals in the past, the application of the act to universities had been delayed.

No need to say the reason, privacy is important to every individual. We don't want our personal information being compromised in any way, especially by government agents. We trust our government, and we tell them our income, our living(resident) address, and they have our medical record and driving record. We don't want these kinds of information being released without our permission. But is your name your privacy? It's hard to say. When you are in Internet chatroom, yes, your real name is your privacy. You have tothe right to keep anonymous. But when you go to school to learn, you can't hide your name from your friends and classmates, because that would be ridiculous. Unless you are an FBI agent, and you are inon a mission, you have no reason to hide your name.

But in another way, studying in a specific university is your privacy information. You have the right not to tell others your education information, and sometimes you have good reason to do so. So releasing names by a university will violate your privacy to some extend.

We will leave this topic to lawyers :)


At October 05, 2006 9:17 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Good job.

At October 05, 2006 10:05 AM, Blogger Unknown said...

Thanks, xj. So, you can't find anything to change in this blog?

At October 07, 2006 8:17 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

--a provincial act that give students-->...that GIVES students...;
--it should apply this act-->it should apply TO this act;
--putting a pile of marked assignment for students to pick up is restrictly prohibited because the students names are showed to other students.
-->this is not expressed clearly. If a person who is not familar with campus life, he/she might not understand very easily. Putting a pile of students' marked assignments in front of a professor's office for students to pick up is.... because everyone's name can be seen by others.

--a officer of provincial..-->AN officer...

--out living address-->out residential address?

--out medical recore, and driving record-->out medical recordS, and Driving recordS

--In an internet chatroom, you have THE right to keep anonymous

--ON a mission;

IT is a good job.


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