What can go wrong

I think it’s all really overwhelming when it comes to things like the internet, and people don’t realise how careful they need to be.

girl, year 9, Wales

Nothing to hide? Think again! You may think that the data collected doesn’t identify you (e.g. your IP address, gender or time spent online). But when it’s all combined, it creates a precise picture of who you are - where you live, what you do in your spare time, your family members, your opinions.

Combined with other data that is already available, it can be used to identify us and can be used in the future.

How long does our data stay online? In practice, personal data may be there forever. It may be fine to share something now, but we can’t be sure how it could be used in the future – perhaps  when we apply for a job or a phone contract, housing or insurance.

Once we’ve been ‘profiled’, the information and advertising we see gets filtered – showing us some things and hiding others. This may mean that our decisions, and even our view of the world, rely on partial – perhaps biased - information.

Also, incidents with leaked personal data are common and include unauthorised access to a person’s address, date of birth, telephone number, email, passwords, photos and bank account.

Find out more from the activities below