Written by volunteer instructor Rachel Walter
Data privacy affects us every day, whether we’re posting on social media or simply using a maps app to get from place to place. This inspired Rachel Walter, a TechGirlz curriculum volunteer, to create a workshop focused on what data we create online each day and how it gets used by big tech companies and “bad guys” alike.
“It really does affect everyone, and not enough people, even adults, understand how their data is being used or how to manage it. And as more of our lives are online, it only becomes more important,” she explained.
In October 2020, Rachel was able to present the workshop for the first time in its new form. She worked for her college computer science department’s K-12 outreach programs, where she graduated in December 2019. She was excited to be involved with TechGirlz for the first time and get to have an impact on students.
Girls in the workshop were given an overview of web security, network security, and social media privacy through hands-on activities with network packet analysis, personal information requests, and more.
Rachel was very thankful for TechGirlz collaboration with Cloudshark. Not only did the team at QA Café (which created Cloudshark) give Rachel tips on using their cloud-based network analyzer and provide TechGirlz with a free upgraded account, but two employees also volunteered as Teaching Assistants for the workshop!
What surprised Rachel most about the workshop was how strongly the girls reacted to the workshop content. In the closing discussion questions, participants were asked what rules or laws they would want in place to protect data privacy. Multiple girls answered in the chat “No companies should have any access to my data!” or “I want none of my information collected!” Watch out, Congress, the next generation is coming with a strong agenda for online privacy!
“I think it is so beneficial for us all to understand what’s going on ‘ under the hood’ of our favorite websites and use that knowledge to empower us to make the right choices for ourselves online,” Rachel says.
The Data Privacy curriculum is currently in development and will be published to the TechGirlz TechShopz in a BoxTM library of topics in the near future. Interested in leading this topic or others? Let us know!