#AboutMeLeeds – digital as a tool for citizen participation

#AboutMeLeeds – digital as a tool for citizen participation

It strikes me as a little foolhardy to write a blog post on a topic I know precious little about and on one to which I have given very little thought. But on this occasion that’s sort of the point…

A couple of weeks ago if you’d attempted to have a conversation with me about data privacy you’d have been pretty disappointed – I confess I had not give it a great deal thought; that was until we decided to do an experiment in online citizen participation during the Leeds Digital Festival, and this emerged as topic about which health and social care organisations really want to have a conversation with the citizens of Leeds.

Ok… so health and social care organisations are interested; but the nagging question in the back of my mind was (and is) would the citizens of Leeds be the slightest bit interested? Doesn’t  the argument tend to go ‘if you’ve got nothing to hide then why would you care who knows what about you anyway?’

But the more I’ve pondered, the more I realise that I am quite bothered. I’m bothered about the fact that Facebook use my age and gender data (willingly supplied by me of course) to allow marketers to pop wrinkle cream and diet product ads on my timeline. I’m bothered that a hospital might not properly treat my son’s impressively extreme and rare allergy properly if they can’t access his GP data. I’m bothered that I regularly get convincing illegal texts and emails trying to elicit my bank details. I’m also a little bit bothered (when I give it serious thought) that I routinely provide quite a bit of personal data about myself in all sorts of social media spaces without any real appreciation of how it could be used for any number of nefarious purposes. And I’m similarly intrigued by how much data other people are willing to share about themselves online.

#AboutMeLeeds is a conversation about data privacy taking place  in social media spaces from 21-27 October and I’m hoping that, as a citizen of Leeds, I get to learn a whole lot more about data and privacy as well as making a contribution to how it is handled in our city.

To read a more informed view about data and a bit more about #AboutMeLeeds check out this post from @LeedsDataThing here and there is an interesting article from The Guardian about data and privacy that you can read here.

If you’d like to blog about data privacy during the Digital Festival then please do get in touch.

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1 Comment

  1. Recently read this: http://www.slate.com/articles/technology/data_mine_1/2013/09/facebook_privacy_and_kids_don_t_post_photos_of_your_kids_online.html and although some argue that it’s too far the other way, it’s certainly thought provoking. Our privacy may be a commodity we sell too cheaply in a world made of information.


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