Privacy Basics | Online Tracking | Privacy


Creep-o-Meter

Made by Stacy Martin, Senior Data Privacy Manager at Mozilla.

Learners will be able to rank online tracking activities from beneficial to creepy.

20 minutes

  • Preparation

    Create Creep-o-Meters. You can print these for participants or ask them to draw their own. The meter should register from convenient or helpful (the green zone) all the way to creepy (the red zone). Participants will be placing scenario cards on the Creep-o-Meter as they react to them. Each person can have a meter and a set of scenario cards, or you can read one set of scenarios, draw one big creep-o-meter, and decide placements on the meter as a group with input from participants.

    Create scenario cards for each of the tracking scenarios listed below. You can make these cards on your own before the activity starts or ask your participants to help make the cards. Participants may also wish to add their own scenarios. And you or they can add more scenarios to this list by searching "creepy tracking" online.

    • Button Knowledge: Social media buttons are an easy way to share what you're reading online with friends and family. On most websites, they gather data and "phone home" with it, even when you're not logged into the social media site that placed the buttons and even before you click on the button to share. Is the convenience of an easy way to share with friends enough to compensate for the data that's gathered? How would your rating change if the buttons collected data only when you clicked on them? What could companies learn about you from what you share with your circle?
    • Smart Airports: Your favorite airport now uses small Bluetooth-powered beacons that recognize passing devices (like your mobile phone) and deliver travel information to you, such as helping you to locate an airport gate, restroom or restaurant and telling you how long it will take to get there. In addition to helping you find your way, they may also send you notifications (such as coupons for a nearby businesses) and gather operational data to help improve your experience.
    • Baby News: A store where you and your family regularly shop seems to know you are pregnant before you do. You start receiving coupons in the mail on preganancy and baby related items based on a profile they've created about you. Do you appreciate the convenience of perfectly timed discounts? What can companies learn from your buying habits?
    • Smart Stores: Many of us have smart phones. How do you feel about smart stores, where sensors throughout the store can send you coupons on the spot, but they also track things about you like how long you spend in the store and what type of phone you're using. Are the coupons worth your data? How would your rating change if when you leave the store, your return visits are tracked over time? What if they added video taken from surveillance cameras in the store? What can stores learn through this type of tracking?
    • The Eyes Have It: You've been wanting to try smart glasses. Now you've learned that a gaze tracking system sends information from your head mounted device back to a server, including what you are viewing, your gaze direction, how long you looked at something, and whether you reacted to it emotionally. Is the data that's collected worth the value you receive from the glasses? What can companies learn from tracking these things?
    • Your App is Watching: When you download an app, it tells you it can work better or give you personalized offers or other things you might like if you switch Location Services on. For example, a dining recommendations app might offer you a coupon when you walk past a restaurant. Are there other types of apps that might want your location? What types of offers would make it a worthwhile exchange for you?
    • Keep Your Friends Close: An app can help you keep track of your friends by showing their location on a map using photos uploaded to social media. You type in the social media username of the person you want to track. The app automatically searches the account for pictures tagged with geodata and then displays the locations on a map.
  • 30
    min

    Individual Activity

    Ask everyone to read their scenario cards and place them along their Creep-o-Meter based on how creepy they find the scenario to be. Once everyone has placed their cards, you read each scenario and ask for feedback about where each person placed it.

    • What is creepy or not about the scenario?
    • Are there parts of it that aren't as creepy?
    • Are there other factors that could make the scenario less creepy?

  • 30
    min

    Group Activity

    Read each scenario card and decide as a group where to place it on the Creep-o-meter. Discuss the creepiness factors as a group as you make the decisions.

    • What is creepy or not about the scenario?
    • Are there parts of it that aren't as creepy?
    • Are there other factors that could make the scenario less creepy?

  • 10
    min

    Reflection

    After the activity is over gather everyone in a circle and ask them to discuss the activity. Ask them to describe any challenges, funny moments or interesting things they learned.