Chromebooks and privacy: not always at odds

Posted on Sat 11 June 2016 in misc

On Friday, June 10th I gave a short talk at the OLITA Digital Odyssey 2016 conference, which had a theme this year of privacy and security. My talk addressed the evolution of our public and loaner laptops over the past decade, from bare Windows XP, to Linux, Windows XP with the addition of Deep Freeze, to the decision two years ago to move to Chromebooks.

Given that Snowden made it clear that multinationals such as Google, Apple, and Facebook co-operate with government agencies to make user data available, we did not make the decision to adopt a product that emphasizes cloud storage and thus potentially compromises the privacy of our users lightly. Rather, we made that decision in the context of a resource-constrained institution that had already adopted Google Apps for Education for its student population--and with a reflection on the vulnerabilities to which our particular implementation of Windows 7 + Deep Freeze was exposing our users.

I've made the presentation, with the speaker notes surfaced as callouts, available, and embedded it below. I'd love to hear your thoughts.