The First Privacy Badges Workshop

This blog post was a collaborative effort of the teen peer researchers involved in the Hive Toronto Co-Designing Privacy Badges project, funded by the Office of the Privacy Commissioner of Canada. This post was lightly edited by the project staff to join together the different youth voices from our first workshop on Saturday, October 11th.

Butterflies and excitement are some of the symptoms of starting a new project. And you could say that the team definitely felt that way going into the first workshop. But once we arrived at the Mozilla office we quickly felt reassured that there was nothing to worry about. The environment was very comfortable and not as intimidating as we had imagined it to be. We started by introducing ourselves with a few icebreakers, which was a fun way to get to know each other more.

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As a group we established our hopes and fears going into the project. This was incredible because we realized that we all had same worries and dreams going into the project. In terms of privacy, we brainstormed what we thought privacy entailed and where badges were found. It was interesting to see what the other group thought process towards the topics had been. For example, while talking where badges could be found the other group had mentioned rewards with various games and gaming consoles. We also brainstormed about what we knew about privacy, and we touched on topics such as its importance, PIPEDA, and the kind of information we wanted to keep private.

We then moved on to hacking Wikipedia pages! Yes you’ve read right. We went on a selected celebrity’s Wikipedia page and tried to change their information to make famous personalities more anonymous. We changed the HTML of these webpages to make these edits. The X-Ray Goggles feature on Mozilla was used to do this, so we weren’t changing the Wikipedia pages for the world to see, but, it was nonetheless, very interesting! Despite changing a lot of major information about these celebrities, it was still quite easy to deduce who the original personality was! That really opened our eyes, because we saw how easy it is for everyone (for example, strangers and companies) to learn about us with only small amounts of information available.


Anonymizing Wikipedia pages was a great activity for three reasons: it blew our minds, it was fun how other teams had changed their webpage and lastly, the activity definitely seemed to bring the group closer as well! Overall the first day of the privacy badges workshop allowed all of us to get comfortable with one another and made me more excited for the workshops to come!