In the News

- January 24th, 2012


This week, posts information on Data Privacy Day on Jan. 28. An infographic traces a trail of The Good, the Bad and the Breached: 2011’s Privacy Winners and Losers


What do they know that you don’t know they know?

More than 40 countries around the world will be celebrating Data Privacy Day this week to “promote awareness about the many ways personal information is collected, stored, used, and shared, and education about privacy practices that will enable individuals to protect their personal information.”

This lesson is based on two articles published January 22nd by iKeepSafe, 2012 Data Privacy Roadmap, and It’s Data Privacy Day on Sat. 28th; But What Does Data Privacy Mean to You?, and new research by Microsoft titled Less than Half Surveyed Think About How Their Online Activities Impact Their Online Reputations. It is designed to help students develop a deeper understanding of the value of their information and their privacy.



This week, more than 40 countries will celebrate Data Privacy Day. It is a day designed to promote awareness about the many ways personal information is collected, stored, used, and shared, and education about privacy practices that will enable individuals to protect their personal information.

By marking the day, we have the opportunity to stop and reflect on our privacy over the past year, decide what aspects of our life we want to keep private, and identify changes so we can increase our privacy this year.

Grades - Appropriate for Grades 6-9

Time Required - 30-45 minutes

Key Concepts

Students should walk away with a tangible understanding of key concepts on personal privacy and information exposure as well as the vocabulary related to personal data privacy.

  • Every person needs to set their own privacy standard.

  • Reading sites’ privacy policies matters. Avoid sites that require you to share more information than you’re comfortable with, or that share information with others.

  • Online data and location tracking tools continue to expand – new features like Facebook’s Timeline and Facebook and Google+’s facial recognition, take data exposure to new levels.

  • Privacy laws have not kept pace with technology’s ability to collect and package your information or with companies’ drive to profit from your information, but they are working towards solutions along with responsible companies and non-profit organizations.

Materials & Resources

Equipment Needed None. (Printing the Infographic as a poster, optional) (In-class demonstration, water, plastic bag, sharp objects, large bowl and a towel, see Optional Activities section for more information)
Full News Article It’s Data Privacy Day on Sat. 28th; But What Does Data Privacy Mean to You?
2012 Data Privacy Roadma
Lesson Plan What Does Data Privacy Mean to You
Lesson Presentation Companion Presentation


– refers to displaying information through graphics, generally to make the information easier to understand
Privacy Policy
‐ a statement or a legal document that that declares a party’s policy on how it collects, stores, and releases personal information it collects. It informs users about some or all of the ways they collect information and whether it is kept confidential, shared with partners, or sold to other firms or enterprises.
Personal information
‐ anything that can identify an individual including: name, address, date of birth, marital status, contact info, ID issue and expiration date, financial records, credit information, medical history, where you travel, and intent to purchase items and services.
Facial recognition
‐ a computer application that identifies or verifies a person from a digital image. One way to do this is by comparing selected facial features from the image and comparing it to a facial database.

Professional Development

This lesson looks closely at maintaining personal data privacy and provides an opportunity to focus on a few core aspects to further your own understanding, to leverage for your school, and to help you as you use tools and technologies in your own classrooms. Areas you may want to focus on include:

  • Understanding your own position on data privacy. The optional activity suggested for students is an outstanding exercise for every internet user. Where do your personal boundaries lay?

  • Facial recognition technologies are increasingly used in a variety of commercial situations. These range from photo tagging on social networking sites to targeted ads in stores or public places. Facial recognition technology has the potential to significantly alter the ways in which individuals are identified, tracked and marketed to, but at what cost and with what boundaries? To learn more about this issue, see the article referenced in this lesson Face-­‐ID Tools Pose New Risk, as well as the webcast of the FTC’s forum Face Facts, Why Facebook's Facial Recognition is Creepy, How Facial Recognition Systems Work, The Top 6 Facial Recognition FAQs and Face Recognition by the Electronic Privacy Information Center, and other sources you find interesting.

  • Explore the ins and outs of Facebook’s Timeline feature to identify how to use it, manage privacy settings, and identify where new safety behaviors are needed to be successful so that you can in turn help your students with this knowledge. See Facebook’s video Introducing Timeline, and their blog post Tell Your Story with Timeline. Then read CNet’s Jan 24th article Ready or not, Facebook's Timeline is coming to a profile near you, and TechCrunch’s Facebook Timeline Now Pushed To Everyone, Users Get A Week To Clean Up Profiles, and Facebook Timeline Becomes Permanent: Five Things to Do First. Then wind your way through any other sources you come across.

  Professional Development

Parent Tips

This week celebrates Data Privacy Day and countries, companies and non-­‐profits around the world will be raising awareness about the many ways personal information is collected, stored, used, and shared. They will also be providing additional educational resources and research about privacy practices that will enable individuals to protect their personal information.

As parents and caregivers, helping youth understand the importance of keeping many types of information about themselves private is critical. Information that may seem harmless at the time can have profound consequences in the future.

  1. Parent Material

  Parent Tips

Teen Voice

Privacy Rights in the Digital Age

Susannah Meyer

15-year-old freshman at the Hewitt School in New York City

There once was a time when anything you did, along with any type of file or record, was handwritten, and lost in a matter of time. Of course, I wasn't alive then. Privacy in the digital age has become pretty transparent, and increasingly so. Now, as rapid technological advances are being made, the right to privacy is questionable, in my opinion. What exactly motivates people to make their private lives public on social media sites, how permanent a record is, and what really is and isn't private are all factors of privacy that are changing as time goes on, and as technology advances.

The phrase 'permanent record' seems to be taking on a whole new meaning nowadays. Anything you've done, be it good or bad, tends to make its way onto the Internet. Anything that has a chance to be passed onto someone who can record it by any means, truly seems to keep itself in existence for long beyond what one person can even remember alone. For people who uphold a reputation through things they put out on the Internet, this is no means for worrying. However, for people trying to find work in this economy, a rumor documented 20 years ago could serve as validation for rejection.

People have become so concerned with this that there are programs that can force emails or documents to literally self-destruct after a certain period of time, so that after a while, it is completely faded.

Companies can find virtually any piece of information about a person that they would want to know. Whenever you fill out a survey, listing your name, address, or phone number, that information can end up on a website where vendors offer hundreds of thousands of names simultaneously, to be placed on a mailing list. Companies can locate this information. Even medical information that you voluntarily filled out on a survey can also be found on one of these websites. This, however, may not be all bad. When the correct information is shared, sharing information can actually make for a more relevant and meaningful relationship. Without information to form an image to your name, you just serve as a couple of words on a list one million words long.

What I don't know is why people do this. Every day, people all over willingly write down personal information on a website, just for convenience, discounts, and other benefits, even though those benefits may later be outweighed. In this way, online data presents itself as a privacy minefield. The extent to which companies will admit to where your information is going is not given much attention, considering it is probably hidden in the fine print, in the middle of a page people usually scroll through in seconds, clicking "accept."

On social media sites, people assume that any information they post will be kept within their circle of "friends." As I've researched, the reality is not as pleasing as one would like it to be. Whenever you take a quiz on Facebook, an assumption that is most likely made is that you are just answering a bunch of pointless questions. However, quizzes are applications, which can be made by anyone in the world that has access to Facebook. When you take a quiz, you open up your entire profile and anything that your friends can see to whoever made the quiz. It is clear to me that people don't know this, but I still wonder why people choose to reveal so much of their lives to the public. Most people post a few pictures, write pointless statuses, and that's that. But some people share most moments of their lives with Facebook, which can turn out to be a whole lot of people.

Not only is your information open to the public, but so is your GPS location. Digital parking meters, cell phones, apartment intercom systems, security cameras, and more, all have ways of recording your comings and goings.

So, is it fair that as technology improves, our rights to privacy dissipate? In the opinion of the general population, no, but sometimes, the advantages of technology are far more beneficial than having more privacy rights. Although this can be the case, sometimes you just have to wonder how much really is too much.

Where do you think the line of privacy has been crossed?

View the original post at Huffpost High

HuffPost High School features articles written by teen authors and a compelling group blog where teen bloggers are free to post as often or as infrequently as they choose about everything from standardized tests to high school sports—and everything in between.

  Teen Voice

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