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Data Protection Commission

'I in Online' Privacy Survey.

The Office of the Data Protection Commissioner marked the Council of Europe's Data Protection Day, 28 January 2010 by participating in a joint initiative with colleagues in the United Kingdom's Information Commissioner's Office to raise awareness of data protection rights among teenagers.

'I in Online'
The 'I in Online' initiative targeted at students in second level schools across the UK and Ireland was devised and sponsored by a group of lawyers from leading law and media firms who specialise in privacy matters.[1] Irish and UK data protection authorities agreed to participate in this enterprising initiative's programme of activities in order to help raise awareness to students and their teachers of privacy rights, particularly in relation to personal data captured online.

Apart from promoting awareness of data protection and privacy matters by delivering presentations and hosting discussion fora, the 'I in Online' initiative also took the opportunity to conduct a survey to measure levels of awareness of data protection issues and the extent to which young people are concerned with protecting their personal information online.

Holy Family Secondary School, Newbridge, Co. Kildare.

The Office of the Data Protection Commissioner delivered a series of presentations to second level students in Holy Family Secondary School, Newbridge, Co. Kildare on Data Protection Day - 28 January 2010. The school was chosen randomly. After the presentations, students were anonymously surveyed regarding their knowledge and attitudes towards privacy online. A total of 77 completed questionnaires were received and analysed.

The results of the surveys conducted on Irish second level students are available here.

Overall Survey Results
In general terms, there was little difference between the responses from the Irish and UK regions.

  • The survey results indicate a low level of knowledge as to what a privacy statement on a website is (even lower amongst the Irish students surveyed).
  • The Irish students surveyed also appeared to be less concerned than their UK counterparts with regard to the privacy of their online profiles and photos.
  • Views regarding the appropriate age of consent for students to appear in school yearbooks, receive newsletters and the situation of CCTV near lockers and toilets in schools were consistent across both Irish and UK region.

The complete report of the survey incorporating all regions in the UK and Ireland is available here.

[1]The 'I in Online' project is a 'corporate social responsibility' driven initiative founded by the UK law firm Speechly Bircham and is supported by other leading law firms and a number of media companies.