Data privacy awareness booth teaches essentials of online safety

At their one-day info booth, Algonquin College's Information Technology Services educated the AC community on ways to protect personal data
Photo: Shaun Klepko
Learners and staff members came to refresh their data privacy knowledge at Algonquin College's data privacy awareness booth on Feb. 1.

Learners and staff members refreshed their knowledge of online safety at Algonquin College’s data privacy awareness booth on Feb. 1.

The booth was part of Data Privacy Awareness Week, an annual worldwide campaign aimed at teaching internet users how to protect their digital information. The one-day booth was run by AC’s Information Technology Services and a handful of student volunteers.

As soon as the booth opened, steps away from the Marketplace Food Court, it attracted dozens of students and staff. They lined up for data privacy info pamphlets and the opportunity to win AC-branded prizes.

“We have notebooks and hats,” said Victor Ishaya, a second-year web development student who was volunteering for the booth. “You answer questions and you’ll get them. They’re really easy questions. Like what do you do when someone tries to get your password?”

These questions were printed on folded strips of paper, waiting in fishbowls for attendees to pick them up. If an attendee answered a question correctly, the booth staff awarded the attendee one prize of their choice. Attendees were quick to deliver correct answers, displaying their pre-existing knowledge of data privacy.

“Nowadays, our data is always collected,” says Alvin Liauw, a first-year student in the supply chain management program. “It’s getting more important to protect it.”

ITS augmented this event with Gilles Fourchette, an independent privacy consultant who assisted with the booth in previous years.

“Last year’s event was more generic,” Fourchette said. “This year’s focus is on the students. We want students to know their rights. What they can do to protect their data.”

“As learners, your active engagement in responsible online practices and advocacy for privacy-first policies contribute significantly to the creation of a secure, respectful, and trustworthy digital environment,” ITS said, in an email announcement for this event.

The theme of this year’s Data Privacy Awareness Week was Privacy in the Digital Age: Navigating the New Normal. In their email announcement, ITS said, “In this era of heightened connectivity, understanding the dynamics of data privacy is not just important, it’s a necessity for successfully navigating the complexities of the new normal.”

These complexities include digital custodianship, which is responsibility for your online presence, and cyber hygiene, which is effective use of passwords.

This year’s Data Privacy Awareness Week ran from Jan. 28 to Feb. 2 at Algonquin College. For more information on data privacy, AC learners and staff can visit the ITS website or send questions to privacy@algonquincollege.com.

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