By Carla Wintersgill
Ryerson professor Avner Levin published a study this summer about the digital divide between youth and the older generation, specifically looking at the differences in attitude towards online privacy.
Levin was quoted explaining the essence of his findings:
“Young people believe that information shared with their personal social networks is considered private as long as its dissemination is limited to their social network. Organizations, on the other hand, don’t recognize this notion of network privacy. They believe that any information posted online is public and deserves no protection.”
In a nutshell, while students may post their drunken weekend photos for 400 of their closests friends to see online, they still consider those pictures private.
Organizations, on the other hand, see anything that’s been posted online as fair game. Guess what camp Ryerson University falls into?
After two years of debate, Ryerson implemented Policy 61, the non-academic code of conduct, earlier this month.
Basically, Policy 61 governs all student behaviour outside of schoolwork. Anything that is deemed harmful to the school can fall under this policy. Ryerson enforces the policy no matter what medium is used for misconduct.
This includes the Internet.
While the school says that they don’t plan on becoming web cops, students should be seriously worried about the vague wording contained in the policy.
There are no set limits on how far the university can go when it comes to online snooping and based on the generational divide, its thoughts on the right to online privacy are dramatically different from students.
This week, Biz and Tech editor John Shmuel and reporter Shivan Micoo break down the implementation of Policy 61 and what it means for students on page 12.
*** Another great story to read is Eric Lam’s feature on page 10 which takes an in-depth look at how two Ryerson students were charged with terrorism.