It’s difficult to resist the siren call of social media and interconnected digital tools, even when we are aware of the potential dangers under their alluring surface. The worldwide web lures us in and, once it has us, it’s almost impossible to escape. For example, I’m conscious of the risks of being geo-locatable, but as I prefer to use public transport wherever I may be, I find it simpler to let my mobile track me, so I can easily access local timetables.

I was still surprised to receive a message from google at the start of this year containing a link to a map showing all the places I’d been in 2019. I also clicked on the google maps timeline in this module, which took me back through my travels of the last 5 years, since I bit the geolocation bullet. As regards Facebook, I very rarely access my account and now it’s blocked anyway, since I tried to access it from a new PC last month. To reactivate my account they want me to send them a copy of an identification document. I checked that this request is bona fide but I have no intention of complying with it. So that’s me done with Facebook for the foreseeable future. Or is it, since the company now brands one of its offshoots, Whatsapp, which I do use regularly?

Thinking about the impact of traceability and data mining on the use of digital learning technologies, most of them require signing-in, even for the non-premium free version, through a google account or the like. Again, this is a bullet that has to be bitten to get the most out of tools like padlet, socrative or edpuzzle, and even if we are aware of the “cost” and try to be sufficiently informed about the issues of privacy and intellectual rights, doubts always remain. But that siren song is very catchy…