Metadata and Privacy - Tech Learning

Metadata and Privacy

Question: Is there cause for concern about the invisible data that is contained in every Microsoft Word file we create? The IT Guy says: It is probably valuable for everyone to know about the information that Microsoft Word automatically creates with every file. Whether people are worried about this or not will
Author:
Publish date:

Question: Is there cause for concern about the invisible data that is contained in every Microsoft Word file we create?

The IT Guy says:
It is probably valuable for everyone to know about the information that Microsoft Word automatically creates with every file. Whether people are worried about this or not will depend on the context of use. By default, Word saves a large number of informational items about the user who created a Word file in the file itself. This information is sometimes referred to as "metadata."

Metadata can include the user's name, initials, the company's name, the name of the computer where the document was created, the name of the hard drive or network server where the file was initially saved, etc. If revision tracking is turned on for a document, even more information will be there. Although this information may not be visible inside the Word application, when you open the file in a text editor or other program, it will be there. If revisions have been added to a document and then removed, they still may be embedded in the document but hidden to the casual user.

Teachers should be aware of this when sharing documents with others, including parents. This is unlikely to be a problem, but documents shared on the district website should probably be converted to PDF format to remove much of this metadata.

Next Tip: Wireless Networks and Health Risks

Featured

Related

Protecting Your Digital Privacy

Listen to this podcast From banks to school districts to the Veterans Administration, every other week, we hear about some other individual who has jeopardized confidential information for millions of people. This article is about how YOU can maintain your digital privacy on your computer. Consider these

My Privacy, My Choice, My Life(2)

Learn about the importance of internet privacy for young people from the Privacy Commissioner of Canada. Topics include important information for students and parents and resources for teachers. Includes a privacy quiz and related links. Available in French.  courtesy of

Image placeholder title

Teens Want Privacy, Too

A recent survey by the PewResearch Center, “Where TeensSeek Online Privacy Advice,”found that many teens ages12-17 report that they generallydraw on their own wits,observations, and knowledge tomanage their privacy online andon social media.

Put to the Test: Windows 7 Ultimate promo image

Put to the Test: Windows 7 Ultimate

It's a significant event in the educational computing world when Microsoft releases a new OS (Operating System). Teachers want to know how it will make teaching easier and learning more effective. Educational administrators worry about cost. IT Departments

CEO: Student Privacy At Risk

Today Common Sense Media CEO and founder James Steyer issued the following statement in response to new research from the Center on Law and Information Policy at Fordham Law School that shows school districts' current practices when using cloud computing services subject students' personal information to risk for abuse.