Being Watched – issues of surveillance for young women [and indeed us all]

The above conference organised by Empowerment People and FeministWebs was evidently an outstanding success and we hope to carry a report in the near future. In the meantime the first blog published in the aftermath by the Open Rights Group, Digital Rights Are For Everyone, Including Young People. raises questions, with which we could all do with tangling.

During our four sessions, we spoke to teenage girls about how people lose control of information about themselves online. Within five minutes of the opening workshop we were getting questions about whether Facebook could read their messages, and it only got more interesting.

50 teenage girls gave up their Saturday to discuss the topics ORG campaigns on. Not only that but they were interested, engaged and made a lot of valuable contributions to the debate on online privacy. We covered ideas like striking the balance between convenience and personal privacy, how pressing ‘delete’ doesn’t always mean what we think it does and the security services and mass surveillance.

It’s not true that young people don’t consider online privacy and more broadly digital rights. All we need to do is give them the tools to start thinking about the more hidden side of the internet and they’ll work the rest out themselves.

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