Thanks to a moving debate, the participants will have the opportunity to discuss the topics of digital identity and personal data. The facilitator asks questions and the participants move around the room depending on their opinion. Once they have moved, a proper debate can start.
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Facebook knows more about you than your family – is that a problem? Gmail reads your mails to concentrate ads at you – is that a concern? In approaching the delicate subject of the protection of our private life, we will organise a walking debate regarding the confidentiality of online communication and exchange.
Facilitation tips: For further information you can complement this activity with certain others, in particular those which deal with Data and Digital Identity. To make this workshop interesting for children, make sure you adapt the words you use according to their understanding which will be different to that of adolescents or adults.
What is a walking debate?
The objectives of a walking debate are to:
- Put participants in an active position encouraging questioning and reflection
- Inspire a critical, engaged atmosphere and group debate
- Deconstruct prejudices
- Create an avenue for meaningful response
Present a series of statements. At each assertion, each participant will to have to take a position physically:
- To the right of the facilitator, if they are in agreement
- To the left, if they disagree
- No one is allowed to stay in the middle (no opinion) – physical movement encourages the choosing of sides and of arguments
After each statement, once everyone has chosen a position, ask a participant why they positioned themselves for or against (according to what chose). Next, ask someone from the other side to explain themselves and alternate as such until everyone has spoken. During the exchange, follow these rules:
- Participants may only speak once each.
- Arguments given should address the debate question and not the last thing said by the opposing camp. They should respond to each other directly.
- If a participant is convinced by another’s argument they can change sides.
Explain the idea to the participants and explain that the debate will focus on the idea of privacy and the confidentiality of online communication. It is up to you the facilitator to judge when it should finish. Whether you judge the debate is complete after 5 minutes or that it should last 5 minutes longer – you decide!
- My family can see every site I visit by checking my browser history. This is good – it allows them to monitor what I am looking at.
- Your internet provider can see every site you visit. This is practical as if someone visits an illegal site, the provider can immediately signal the police.
- If you have liked more than 100 posts on Facebook, according to an American study, the Californian company knows more about you (culinary, sexual, political preferences, etc.) than your family. Facebook can thus sell your profile information to corporations that will target ads to you adapted to what you like, while your family probably has no idea what to get you for Christmas.
- In several countries, such as France and the USA, the government monitors internet users to identify potentially dangerous profiles. This is a good thing because you can now feel more safe even if you yourself are monitored.
- Gmail, my email provider, reads my mails to try to ensure the ads I am seeing are adapted to my personality. My conversations are no longer confidential but I do get ads especially for me. This is handy.
- There are tools allowing users to mask (encode) content of the messages I send to my friends, whether by phone call, text or mail. These tools are vital because if a correspondence is private, it should stay private.
Hopefully these statements will have created strong debate amongst the participants on the subject of the protection of privacy. At the end of the process, explain that privacy is a right consecrated by article 12 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights: ‘No one shall be subjected to arbitrary interference with his privacy, family, home or correspondence, nor to attacks upon his honour and reputation. Everyone has the right to the protection of the law against such interference or attacks.’ This right is becoming harder and harder to protect in a world where we use technology that produces and stores more and more data on their users. There do exist however alternatives offering a balance between privacy protection, user-friendliness and communication. The Digital Travelers Site offers various workshops on these subjects, for example: ‘Below the Radar: Signal Communication’ or ‘A TORturous Road’.