Events Newsflash June 2010 #3
Learning Forum London — ePortfolio 2010, Internet of Subjects Forum, SE@M 2010 Call for proposals
Events Newsflash June 2010 #3
Splitting Facebook into Baby Faces? Lessons of the 80s
10 ePortfolio challenges: what has been achieved?
IoS Forum: Graham Sadd: People Are Our Greatest Asset
On January 8, 1982, AT&T Corp. settled an antitrust suit with the U.S. Department of Justice and agreed to split into seven independent Regional Bell Operating Companies known as "Baby Bells." Can we imagine a "privacy suit" that would lead to the split of Facebook into Baby Faces?
In 2008, a class-action suit charged Facebook and a handful of other companies, including Blockbuster, Fandango and Overstock, with violating online privacy and computer fraud laws related to Facebook's controversial Beacon system. Then, in 2009, a group of Facebook users filed a civil lawsuit alleging the violation of California consumer privacy laws. According to CNET, the 40-page complaint accuses the California-based company of violating California privacy and online privacy laws by disseminating private information to third parties for commercial purposes. A 2010 lawsuit, filed in U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California, claimed that "changes to the privacy settings that Facebook implemented and represented to increase User privacy had the outright opposite effect of resulting in the public dissemination of personal information that was originally private." A few weeks ago, EPIC, called for Facebook to fix ongoing privacy problems recommending "Instant Personalization" opt-in, limit data retention, give users greater control over their information, and allow users to export their content from Facebook." EPIC has a complaint currently pending at the Federal Trade Commission, charging that Facebook has engaged in unfair and deceptive trade practices.
Yet Facebook sends the signals that it is committed to privacy protection. In 2009 Facebook announced Facebook Connect, a privacy framework promising a number of features, such as dynamic privacy: "as the user moves around the open Web, their privacy settings will follow, ensuring that users' information and privacy rules are always up-to-date. For example, if a user changes their profile picture, or removes a friend connection, this will be automatically updated in the external website." More recently, Facebook introduced Graph API implementing simpler data policy and a unified data permissions dialog for users.
Yet, despite real efforts, Facebook still faces the suspicion of personal data abuse. Is it because Facebook is actively engaged in "deceptive trade practices", to use EPIC terms, or the result of a more fundamental flaw?
The first and most obvious flaw in social networking sites is the amount of personal data that a single organisation owns and exploits: when there is a defect in the system, it is half a billion people that can have some or all of their private data made public. It has happened and it will happen again. The solution to massive loss of personal data is to dismantle large farms of personal data hosting.
The second and most obvious flaw is the lack of control of personal data access. In the UK, the National Health Service, which is dealing with personal health records is responsible for losing and disclosing hundred of thousands of sensitive personal data. According to the Telegraph, in 2007 alone, a record 37 million items of personal data went missing. Most of the data was lost by government officials but also councils, NHS trusts, banks, insurance companies and chain stores.
For organisations, public or private, to stop loosing or disclosing personal data, means giving owners full access control. And to avoid the idiosyncrasies of each service, this control must be unified under the umbrella of a single privacy dashboard. This should apply to any type of personal data, in particular ePortfolios, that will be the main subject of the Learning Forum London conference.
In order to achieve that goal, we need to establish a clear separation between the hosting of personal data and the services to which they are associated —similar to what occured in the utility and railway industry, with one big difference: users will be able to choose both the service providers and the vehicle for the services. We probably also need to limit the size of farms hosting personal data.
For these two reasons, we believe that it might be necessary to call for the split of Facebook (and others) into 'Baby Faces', opening the grounds for innovation, competition, but also limiting the risks of privacy breaches. It is one thing to provide a service to one billion or more people (this can be done without having to store personal data, as VRM applications show), quite another to store personal data.
The EIfEL Team
Ten ePortfolio challenges: what has been achieved?
Learning Forum London 5-7 July 2010
While being still far from what we hoped would be a self-fulfilling prophecy, "in 2010 every citizen will have an ePortfolio", one could say today "in 2010, (almost) every country has ePortfolio projects." Speakers and delegates from all over the world will report on their current achievements and plans for the future. The strong participation of the healthcare community, beyond initial education, shows that ePortfolio is gaining grounds as a means to support continuing professional development.
Among the achievements that will be reported is the progress made on the 10 challenges EIfEL addressed to the ePortfolio community at the 7th ePortfolio conference (London, June 2009). Those challenges were further developed into an article published by StudienVerlag in 2010.
The 10 ePortfolio challenges were:
The objective of the 'challenges' was to drive a number of significant changes to ePortfolio platforms in order to improve quality of services and increase the level of interoperability across applications and institutions.
While there is still a long way to go, we are pleased to announce that the conference will be able to report significant progress, eg. on open and trusted infrastructures, as well as interoperability: we now have evidence that it is possible to provide learners with the technology allowing them full control over who has access to what part of their ePortfolio. This technology has yet to be implemented in the mainstream platforms, but it is for the ePortfolio community to invite technology providers to do so.
On the other hand, there is still much to be done to have ePortfolio data discoverable and comparable: there is a compelling need for a "competency wiki", i.e. a wiki that could be used to share definitions and controlled vocabularies, for example when 2 or more people make reference to a specific competency (e.g. add a tag with the name of the competency to an artefact), and all use the same reference/pointer to the same definition (or a different one if it refers to a different definition). This applies to competencies, but also to many of the metadata (tags) used to connect the different elements of one's portfolios and narratives. We are still closer to the era of "digitised paper portfolio", than that of the "semantic ePortfolio": most ePortfolio systems editing tools allow to write pink characters on purple backgrounds but none do any kind of semantic annotation...
If you want to know more about state of the art in the field of ePortfolio, join us at the Savoy Place, London 5-7 July 2010.
For a complete view of the actual programme: www.epforum.eu/programme
Interview with Graham Sadd, keynote speaker at IoS Forum forum
IoS Forum London 5 July 2010
Graham Sadd is Founder and Chairman of PAOGA Ltd. (www.paoga.com) an organisation providing Personal Information Management Services (PIMS), Graham is an ardent promoter of VRM (Vendor Relationship Management), the reciprocal to CRM, allowing 2-way conversations and data exchanges between buyers and sellers.
EIfEL: Government agencies loosing personal data is one thing —NHS seems to have made a specialty of it. But when government agencies, like the State of Oklahoma, make tens of millions of dollars selling personal information (http://bit.ly/bRDWNd), this is an entirely different game. Do you think that the Oklahoma story is anecdotal or does it reflect a deeper and more sombre trend? How worried should we be?
GS: This is not anecdotal as our own DVLA has been reported as making personal information available for £2.50 to individuals who ‘claim’ to have parking spaces. No check was carried out on these individuals. Similarly, personal information about an individual selling their home is available from the Land Registry and the NHS Central Patient Register openly reports that it has the right to make an individuals personal medical details available to commercial organisations. I suspect that other central and local government databases are also available.
UK Cabinet Office Minister Francis Maude, recently called for a radical shift in the relationship between citizens and the state. Do you think that it could be an opportunity to move forward the agenda of self-control of personal data?
GS: I am extremely hopeful that this government, who is committed to decentralisation and more local autonomy, also recognises the importance of regaining citizen ‘trust’ in government. User Driven data in this current climate addresses many of the stated objectives including reducing costs, increasing accuracy and legal compliance.
GS: Trusted Architecture is available now. This is much more about ‘mindset’ than technology. What is needed is critical mass to optimise the benefits for all. The barriers are current data ‘owners’ protecting their investments in CRM systems in the spurious belief that they ‘own’ the data. The key technical issue is simplifying the transfer/synchronisation of data from organisational data silos to Portable Personal Data Silos.
EIfEL: People Are Our Greatest Asset (PAOGA) was designed to address the growing concern that the skills and talents of many individuals remain unrecognised, unappreciated and therefore wasted. Then your interests moved towards Vendor Relationship Management (VRM) and now towards the provision of a trusted architecture (www.paoga.com). EIfEL went down a similar path, moving from ePortfolios to identity construction management and now the vision of an Internet of Subjects? Could you share with us how you see your personal journey and your vision of the trusted Internet of the future?
GS: My journey started with e-Procurement in the ‘90s recognising the value of providing a ‘customers catalogue’ for businesses. We called this SRM (Supplier Relationship Management) and, even then, seen as an extension rather than a replacement for CRM. In 2003, given the increasing penetration of broadband, it was obvious to me that this could extend to an individual level. For any business the most expensive cost/investment is staff and research quickly revealed the shortcomings of the existing recruitment process, which is very hit and miss, and involves the distribution of considerable personal information with little or no control or compliance.
Addressing this problem revealed the online risks which applied to other sectors of our online relationships, which demanded that more than the necessary personal information be provided. The result is that personal information about the average, middle-aged European citizen is currently being held on 1,000 data silos around the world – some of it 10 minutes old, some 10 years old, much of it inaccurate and organisations are making decisions based on this data which can have a detrimental effect on an individuals job or financial prospects.
The Internet is a crucial development in the world of global communication and the cornerstone of the information age BUT, like other revolutionary industrial developments, it suffers from unforeseen consequences and abuse. 85% of internet traffic comprises of SPAM, unwanted and uninvited marketing material being ‘pushed’ at individuals causing them at best, inconvenience, and at worst financial loss and reputational damage.
I believe that the technology has now reached sufficient market penetration to enable individuals to manage their personal information ‘under their control, with their consent, for their benefit’. The world of ‘Target Markets’ must change to a world of ‘Trusted Relationships’ which requires two-way conversations and negotiations between willing buyer and willing seller.
Thank you Graham, and we all look forward to hearing your keynote address at the Internet of Subjects, 5th of July, the first day of Learning Forum London.
The conference is sponsored by the TAS3 partnership
AAEEBL, Boston July 19 – 22, 2010
The worldwide Association for Authentic, Experiential and EvidenceBased Learning (www.aaeebl.org) is holding the first major international conference focused on electronic portfolios (ePortfolios) to be held in the United States. The conference is in Boston on July 19 – 22, 2010, at the Seaport Hotel and Seaport World Trade Center, a world‐class conference venue. All major ePortfolio projects and initiatives around the world will be represented at the conference. EIfEL and IoS will be present.
Deadline for early‐bird discount is June 18; register at https://center.uoregon.edu/conferences/1105events/AAEEBL/2010/registration/ Home site for the conference: http://www.aaeebl.org/page/AAEEBL+Annual+Conference (link to hotel reservations is at this site as well).
World of Learning free seminar programme,
SE@M'10 27-28 September, Barcelona
Fourth International Workshop on Search and Exchange of e-le@rning Materials
2nd CALL FOR PAPERS - Submission Deadline: 30 JUNE 2010 (extended)
CONTEXT AND MOTIVATION
Over the last fifteen years, considerable effort has been spent on the development of standards and specifications in order to improve the interoperability of e-learning systems, repositories, and content. These efforts have led to significant improvements in the arena of technical interoperability enabling the emergence and expansion of successful federations and alliances of learning object repositories such as the LRE, ARIADNE, GLOBE, etc. Building blocks for this success have been the creation, evolution and adoption of standards such as the IEEE, Learning Object Metadata (LOM), the Open Archives Initiative Protocol for Metadata Harvesting (OAI-PMH), and the Simple Query Interface (SQI). More recent developments in this field include the definition of a Simple Publishing Interface (SPI) and the ongoing work within the IMS Global Learning Consortium on the Learning Object Discovery & Exchange (LODE) specification to facilitate the discovery and retrieval of learning objects stored across more than one collection. The development of best practices (for example by projects like ASPECT and ICOPER), enabling more efficient use of these standards and specifications, has also proven instrumental in the successes of current learning content retrieval infrastructures.
Given the significant improvements in the technical infrastructures allowing for the exchange of learning objects and metadata, the attention of domain experts is now increasingly turning to the development and implementation of solutions to enhance semantic interoperability. There is also a need to better optimize techniques for the management of controlled vocabularies and to guarantee interoperability between different application profiles. A series of other issues are yet to be resolved including best-practices and tools for access control to learning resources and issues of privacy and data protection in the context of e-learning.
To further developments in this field, the main goal of this international workshop is to offer a forum where researchers and practitioners can discuss theoretical aspects, open issues, and innovative approaches and share the latest advances in the state of the art and practices for exchanging and describing learning content. This year's workshop will include presentations of both long and short refereed papers as well as panel discussions, keynotes and demonstrations.
TOPICS OF INTEREST (include, but are not limited to)
* Infrastructures for learning resource discovery and exchange
* Metadata Management
* Discovering content
* Access Control vs. Open
* Exchanging content
Submissions, and questions, should be sent to firstname.lastname@example.org
* 30 June 2010: Paper Submission deadline
The workshop will take place at Hotel Catalonia Plaza, Barcelona, the same venue as EC-TEL 2010 (www.ectel2010.org).
Registration fee is 60 euros to cover for the costs of coffee breaks and lunch.
Online registration at: