HOW DO YOU TAKE CARE ON THE INTERNET?
Members of the UnBias team and the Digital Wildfire project from the Universities of Nottingham and Oxford were delighted to participate in Mozilla Festival (MozFest), which took place over the weekend of 28th-29th October 2017. The festival saw thousands of members of the general public, of all ages and nationalities, pass through the doors of Ravensbourne College to engage in a festival that aimed to promote a healthy internet and a web for all. Issues of digital inclusion, web literacy and privacy and security were some of the key topics that were discussed at the event.
UnBias kicked off their session with a jam packed line up of interactive activities, designed to spark debate and encourage reflection on key issues relating to privacy, security and how to take care on the internet. Amongst the activities, festival goers were presented with a range of scenarios that related to fake news, hate speech, search results and personalised content, and they were invited to vote on how some of these issues should be tackled. This sparked lively debate from attendees as they pondered, reflected and debated on questions such as ‘Can online fake news affect the result of a political election?’ and ‘What punishment would it be fair to give someone for committing an online hate crime?’
Participating in a series of mini votes on topical issues stimulated further reflection and meaningful discussion on what rights digital citizens should have, and how their security and privacy should be protected online. Some attendees expressed their views by making sentences out of a word puzzle.
Amongst other activities, attendees were given a series of cards that depicted common scenarios of things that people might search for on the internet (e.g. buying a pair of shoes, looking for a job, reading the news etc.) alongside a range of types of information (e.g. the school a person attended, phone number, gender, browser history etc.) that may or may not be accounted for when making their search. This provoked reflections on what data attendees were comfortable (or uncomfortable) for data recommender algorithms to take into account when making these searches, and what data might already have been surrendered by users in these and other common searches on the internet.
Attendees were also broached with the question of ‘How does the internet take care of you?’ Post-it notes were used to ask festival goers to write their thoughts down. Members of the UnBias team were on hand to answer any questions and further information relating to the project was available for attendees to take away with them.
MozFest brought together a diverse audience including academics, NGOs, people from industry and members of the general public of all ages, from different countries and across different disciplines, to engage in discussions from civil liberties and public policy to privacy and online security, which are issues that affect us all. This gave the team a fantastic opportunity to encourage meaningful conversations, to learn more about the perspectives and experiences of others, to provide further information about UnBias and to establish new contacts for possible future collaborations.