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Reda and Neto: Caring for our Personal Data

Animations: A Medieval Adventure and Data Trading

You have the right to protect your privacy and to refuse to provide other people with unnecessary information.
Key Idea
"You have the right to not share all of your personal information".


In-classroom Online Activity

Explore the data requested on three websites (the three used in the previous lesson can be used) and decide what data is unnecessary and why the sites might be asking for this information. The teacher can focus this activity on online games if he or she wishes.

In-classroom Offline Activity

In groups of 4, students choose different types of personal data (relating to identification, health, etc.) and make a list of the possible ways that other people may use this data.
For example, a telephone company not only requires the necessary data (name, ID number, age, bank account number and address) from its customers, but also requests other information, such as number of siblings, number and model of family vehicles and whether the family owns a second home. What use does the telephone company have for this information? What if the phone company gives or sells this information to other companies? Can they do that?

Family Online Activity

With a parent, the student sends an e-mail to the teacher from home. The student-parent team sends a message or document in which they analyze the information that has been requested of them to open a free e-mail account from Hotmail, Yahoo, Gmail, etc.
For each piece of data, the student and parent indicate whether its inclusion was optional or required and whether or not they think the information is necessary to the company in order for it to provide the service. If some of the required data does not seem necessary, the student and parent will discuss how certain companies or sectors that could benefit from this data.

Key Ideas

Companies have a tendency to collect personal data that can be used to create profiles and define consumer markets. However, on occasion these companies obtain a direct economic by selling this data.
Since foreign online services are not subject to the regulations imposed by our government, it is possible that in certain situations we may not be able to avoid that companies take advantage of our personal data. We, as users, must maintain a watchful and active attitude regarding these practices and ignore or reject sites that do not respect basic ethical principles.

Explanation of Subject

The collection of personal data is often inordinate: sometimes data is required unjustifiably in order to receive a service and other times it is simply requested, not required, but with ulterior motives.
The most serious cases are those in which the site's aim is the indiscriminate collection of data, which is then used to create profiles that are later sold to companies specializing in electronic marketing that provide no services-they are scams that use hooks to pique our interest.
Sites also frequently fail to complete the requirements regarding the management of data, both in collecting it and using it at a later time. For example, such is the case when sites fail to provide information about their purpose in collection users' information.
In the case of minors, we need to emphasize that they must not provide sites with any unnecessary data and that sites should always require permission from their parents or guardians.

Group Discussion Questions

What information do you think should be necessary in order to participate in an online activity (for example, a survey, contest or club)?
Why is it a good idea to provide only necessary information while using the Internet?
What do you think websites do with our personal data?
Have you ever read the terms of use and privacy conditions regarding the data that we provide online? Did you understand them?