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    Associated Press: Teens adept at social media get privacy training

    The Associated Press reports on a privacy program at St. Michael School in suburban St. Louis. The program is based a privacy curriculum based on one released by the Fordham Law School’s Center for Law and Information Policy. AP reports:

    CLAYTON, Mo. — In an age of increased online government surveillance and targeted social media ads, the notion of privacy as a classroom subject worthy of distinct study is gaining momentum far beyond the narrow niches of First Amendment lawyers and computer hackers.

    Using a privacy curriculum developed at Fordham Law School in New York, educators there and at another dozen of the country’s top law schools want to equip adolescents growing up in a digital world with a user manual that has little to do with apps and pixel resolution.

    At the St. Michael School in suburban St. Louis, middle-school students recently learned how to manage their digital reputations. Led by a law-student instructor from nearby Washington University, the preteens discussed how facial recognition software is used everywhere from Facebook to the local mall. As the cellphone increasingly becomes an early adolescent rite of passage, they debated the legal and ethical issues raised by spending hours each day online or texting with friends. […]

    In addition to Washington University and Fordham, participating schools include Georgetown, Harvard, Idaho, Princeton, Tulane, Yale and the University of California campuses in Berkeley and Irvine. A sample curriculum developed by Fordham’s Center for Law and Information Policy was financed by a court-approved settlement in a class action lawsuit against NebuAd, a defunct company that tracked Internet users’ surfing habits for targeted sales pitches. […]

    “Kids are both more concerned about their privacy than adults and more sophisticated about using the limited tools at their disposal (to maintain privacy),” [Neil Richards, a Washington University law professor who oversees the privacy training at St. Michael and a second area private school.] said. “But they’re also more interested in using technology as a form of expression.

    “They’re also kids,” he added. “And kids do dumb things.” […]

    Richards and his law school colleagues hope to refine and expand the program into public school systems, perhaps as soon as next year. Given the rapid pace of technological change, it promises to be an ever-evolving process.

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