All forbidden? Data protection vs. software tools

by | Sep 29, 2021 | Cumila-Project, Media literacy | 0 comments

Theory is one thing. But putting what we learn into practice is also an important part of the learning process. And if we encourage the participants to present their results in the form of a presentation or a small leaflet when carrying out exercises or tasks, we can also teach a little presentation and digital competence at the same time (if the participants work with certain software solutions, for example).

So, at first glance, it’s a good approach.

In the context of our CUMILA project, we often asked ourselves to what extent we wanted to give teachers concrete information about whether they should use certain tools in the implementation of the learning units.

Part of the CUMILA project deals with the topic of cooperation and collaboration. In today’s world, this also means using and trying out concrete digital solutions. And there are plenty of them. There are numerous online services and software packages for almost every conceivable purpose. The advantages of the modern representatives of these solutions are often a lower barrier to entry and intuitive operation, so that acceptable results can be achieved quickly.

So far so good? No, unfortunately not.

It is easy and practical to sign up for a new online service. And most solutions are even available free of charge. However, in this day and age we are so used to simply trying things out that we completely disregard other aspects.

Especially in these times of DSGVO and Schrems II, it is appropriate to take a closer look at whose services we are actually using and where our data is going.  Unreflective use of online services is dangerous. And above all: not legal. There is a reason why companies like Microsoft and Google are criticised. If you want to know more about this topic, we recommend our module on security, data protection and privacy. 

We always see data protection as an inhibitor, as the killjoy who forbids everything. But that’s not true. The protection of one’s own personal data is a fundamental right. And we should also have an interest in having a say in who uses which of our data and for what purpose. Data protection should not be seen as an obstacle, but as an opportunity for self-determination. 

There are a number of good tools and software solutions that comply with European data protection. These may not all offer the convenience or ease of a solution from the big Googles of this world, but they are all worth a look.

It is also not just about data protection compliance, but also about the question of data sovereignty. Do we want to continue to thoughtlessly give away our data to some service provider or finally also take responsibility and deal with data protection-compliant, European solutions?

As a small by-product of our project, we have begun to list individual tools and alternatives and classify them according to data protection criteria. The list is without guarantee and certainly not complete, but it is a start.

Actually, this topic is an exciting project in itself. Please feel free to contact us about this. Also, if you know of any other interesting tools that should be on our list.

How do you deal with this issue in your organisation? Is it a topic that is discussed at all?

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