It’s time to get curious! We engage with technology all the time that uses our personal data to understand what we’re doing, predict what we might do, and generalize what we might do. It can be daunting to know what’s going on with your personal data and what you can do to protect yourself. It’s hard to find answers to your questions - and even harder to know what questions to ask.
We know that it can feel hopeless to do anything about your data right now. It’s not you and it’s not hopeless. To start, we’re asking you to get curious. Our goal is to help you ask the right questions, understand the answers, and be empowered to do something about it.
We envision a world where people are empowered, active participants in a dynamic, respectful data ecosystem. Our mission is to energize people to be curious about their data.
We need to have higher expectations of organizations and companies that use personal data. It’s their responsibility to explain how they’re using your data and how they’re protecting it.
“Privacy” has become a buzzword these days, but how much about privacy does the everyday digital consumer really understand? While so much of our lives reside in the digital realm, the level of education, information, and transparency surrounding what happens to our data once it leaves our hands remains abysmally low. As someone who works in tech, I want to be sure we take it upon ourselves to make information about data accessible to everyone, so that people can not only be informed about what’s going on, but actually be empowered to decide what happens with their data.
I want people to have the information they need to make informed choices about how to incorporate technology into their lives. We live in a world where we’re increasingly surrounded by devices and networked services all the time, yet the organizations that build them don’t seem to be taking their responsibility seriously when it comes to explaining what data's collected and how it’s used. At the same time we’re expected to trust that they have our best interests in mind. Something isn’t adding up. People have questions and they should be able to get straight answers about how things work.
Curiosity is the best teacher. I love learning, but sometimes we all need a little bit of guidance. Within the topic of privacy itself, there are a few dragons that might seem daunting, but privacy is for everyone, not just technologists or lawyers; privacy is about our information, our identities, and our lives. With Data Curious, we aim to provide snackable pieces of guidance that will help you become more familiar with and more confident about our digital identities and what happens to them, so that you can make informed decisions about what matters to you.
I learned about privacy and consent at a young age from my mom. She said my journal and my space were for me. No one could enter without my permission, and I could change my mind at any time. When life became more and more online, I expected that same level of privacy on the internet. Despite the amount and kind of data I have voluntarily and involuntarily submitted, I still expect the privacy — and agency — I grew up with and want to help others better understand that they too can expect privacy, agency and respect.
I think there’s a common misconception that most people “don’t care” about privacy, so it’s okay for the tech industry to continue doing what we’ve always done. I think the truth is more complicated than that; sure, there’s user apathy and a sense of ‘well I have nothing to hide’, but that doesn’t mean we have to, or should, continue with the status quo. I feel there’s a lack of ground-level understanding of what data privacy actually means, and moreso, how the active actions in being proactive in your data privacy (or lack thereof) translate to in real-life outcomes. If people are going to be signing away their privacy in exchange for making a post, they should at least know what they’re getting themselves into and make that informed choice for themselves.
A few years ago, the word "data" was only a hot topic in the tech world; for everyone else, it simply meant how much "digital junk" one has or can store. Now this "digital junk" is in reality "digital footprint" and has become bread and butter in our everyday lives. This gap between the two worlds became even clearer to me when I moved out of the Silicon Valley. Often, confusion and helplessness about data usage turn into paranoia and distrust. Without proper knowledge, we feel the need to sacrifice our privacy in order to gain the full benefit of technology. I am not a data expert, however I aim to bridge the two worlds through one of the easiest mediums to communicate: illustration. Using metaphors and humor, I hope to show people that data privacy isn't as scary as it sounds and can be something small to help them regain control of their data. As the laywoman guinea pig of the team, I hope to bring another perspective to the table and try to relay some common questions and misconceptions from the public.
I’ve always been a tinkerer, someone who loves technology and all the things that can be done. But a lot of the time I don’t jump at the chance to be an early adopter because the way things are built don’t meet my expectations for how data should be used. I care about technology being built in a way that safeguards my data so that I can whole-heartedly recommend it to my family and friends. Without having better answers to questions about data collection and use, I can’t do that.
In Summer 2022, four USD students spent the summer with Data Curious. Thanks to funding from the Center for Digital Civil Society, they helped with user experience research, web development, and marketing and communication.
From Honolulu, Alyssa wants to help people have control of their personal information. She feels an important first step is to build understanding around what information is being shared and how. Over the summer, she developed a landscape analysis, created metrics to measure impact, and conducted internal research. Majoring in Business Analytics and minoring in Psychology, Alyssa hopes to pursue a graduate degree in Data Science. In her free time, she loves to play spikeball at the beach with her friends and hiking with her dog.
Majoring in Industrial and Systems Engineering, Celine believes data privacy is more relevant now than ever and finds many people don’t know the extent to which their information is being taken advantage of. She wants to help people understand how their data is being collected, interpreted, shared, and disposed of. Over the summer she worked on designing and implementing website modifications, creating a database, and sourcing new questions. From San Diego, Celine is interested in pursuing a career that involves design work. Meanwhile, she enjoys exploring different hiking trails around San Diego and playing with her friends in beach volleyball.
With interests spanning tech, journalism and social impact, over the summer, Clara worked on sourcing relevant questions from the media, creating an ad campaign with the voice of San Diego, and developing the Data Curious brand. She believes privacy enables us to trust and therefore participate in the internet economy. From Marin, CA, Clara is majoring in Communications and minoring in Sociology. She loves to dance and explore museums and the outdoors.
Recognizing how intertwined our lives are with technology, Tommy spent the summer focused on developing marketing and communications for Data Curious. He worked closely with the Voice of San Diego to launch our first ad campaign. Majoring in Business Administration with a double minor in Marketing and Communications, Tommy is considering working at a startup or nonprofit after graduation. From Menlo Park, CA, he enjoys playing soccer on the USD club team and spending time with his family, and his dog Levi.
The Center for Civil Digital Society has a mission to forge a new social contract between academia, industry, and the public, one positioned to realize the power and promise of data. Led by the Shiley-Marcos School of Engineering, we bring together stakeholders by developing new curriculum and student projects; offering workshops and resources; and hosting an innovative data science renovation program for industry professionals. Through these initiatives, we will balance and calibrate the next generation of data systems, facilitating conversations that have been traditionally hindered by silos or missing altogether.
Data Curious is a project managed by Good Research, an organization that combines engineering, data science, and user experience expertise to help organizations develop a comprehensive approach to privacy and security that will endure. Our vision is for everyone to have the knowledge and agency to thrive in a digital world. We built this site to help people get curious about their data. Our goal is to help you ask the right questions, understand the answers, and be empowered to do something about it.