Digital Privacy. You’ve heard the term gaining traction in the consumer movement over the past few years. With every data breach, change in security setting, or online tracking alert that comes to light, consumers are forced to grapple with how they can stay safe online.
Consumer Reports is responding to these new threats with the launch of our Digital Lab. As Consumer Reports’ (CR) Manager of Community Leadership, my job is to think through new and interesting ways that our members can be a part of what we do. Right now that means — developing educational opportunities around digital privacy through which we can share what we’re learning, provide consumers with actionable information, and listen to consumers’ concerns and challenges.
In the past, CR and a community of volunteers have convened workshops on issues like Food Sustainability and Medical Harm. In more than 150 events, consumers learned and shared their knowledge about these critical issues and how they can better protect themselves and their communities.
This work with volunteers has given us a framework to start developing a program on digital privacy. We know that people learn best when they’re in small groups where they can share their own experiences and discuss issues they care about. They learn best when they feel like they are collaborating on fun, engaging, and hands-on activities. We’ve also learned that folks have stories — a lot of stories — to share about their digital experiences, and we want to create a safe space for them to share them with each other and with us.
As we design the new Digital Privacy Workshops, we are creating resources and tools that will help volunteers (even those without a tech background) teach digital privacy basics and tools to everyday consumers. We’re focusing on topics where people can do something immediately, like password management, phishing and encryption, and data management, and we’re creating a workshop format that will evolve with the new information unearthed in our Digital Labs. We’ve been testing our first workshops over the past month.
I’m excited to learn more about how we can make Digital Privacy accessible and achievable for consumers and how we can equip enough people with tools to protect themselves online that we actually change the marketplace. I’m also excited to keep talking with you all about big ideas, like who should own your personal data or what conveniences we should be sacrificing in exchange for privacy.
We’ll be sharing more about the workshops and their launch in the coming months. If this sparks an interest, sign up here today for more details and get in touch.