Post 5: Approaches to design for change, design-led ethnography

I have become very interested in online privacy after researching for the week 3 assignment. I became more aware regarding the policies and the Terms and Conditions of social media, government documentations, and other agencies. I thought the recent public outburst of the data privacy relating to the Census was a good platform for increasing public awareness in our society.

For week 3 I interviewed two individuals to find out more about their thoughts on data and to investigate the issues with data. I identified that while there were individuals that were very concerned about data, there were many who thought that this was not a big issue. They wanted to learn more but were unsure of how and where to start. They also didn’t want to spend too much time on this issue, even though data is a huge aspect of the human life.

As we lead busy lives, we are less concerned about personal and data privacy. We cannot hide from the Government data wise and we are losing control on our privacy on social media.

ap_privacy_fFigure 1: (Why Privacy Is Actually Thriving Online, Courtesy of Rosey Lakos and Jesse Crimes 2014)

There is a very distinctive gap between the generations as well. The older generation and young generation especially the teens tend to have and expose their life on social media more and at the same time use different kinds of social media platforms like snap chat, Instagram, facebook, skype etc at the same time. Some of them are overly concerned about their privacy according to Microsoft researcher Danah Boyd. She also mentioned “Social Steganography,” which explains that the teens tend to use more slang, inside jokes, song lyrics to hide from adults so they will not be noticed on social media. They also often delete everything from their social page or put statuses in minute details.

According to the research, I chose two different age groups who are researching various current issues. My first interview was one of my class member, who is doing a Global warming research at this moment. It was a very interesting and effective conversation for both of us where we shared our own thoughts and experience. From the conversation what I found most interesting was to find out when she told me about her online and social media experience for me. She is very concerned about her social media privacy but she never read any terms and condition, which is pretty normal, but the most interesting I find out was that she always clear and delete her browser history to make sure no one can trace and track her. That’s how she likes to protect her privacy. When I mentioned to her if you don’t read any terms and condition have you ever thought that it could be anything written on it and it could pose a big threat to you in the future because you never know what you are signing off.

This thought was a turning point for her and now she really wants to be more careful. The other point she mentioned to me which was a very good point for me because she told me for a big company like Apple; Facebook, Instagram etc those kinds of big organisations, people trust those brands and have faith on them. This may be why she was not overly concerned about these previously. I asked her if she trusts the Government? She told me she doesn’t and she is very frustrated with new Census form. I asked her why she thinks like that. It could be very good for national security. But she mentioned to me that maybe it is, but it was not very clear why the government wants our personal information and that she will not fill up the census form even though she will incur hefty fines. She felt that it is our basic human right that if we don’t want to anyone, even the government cannot push us and at some point government will stop trying to as well.

The most beneficial point for me about this interview was that I got more interested in how the government is actually using our data for national security and how they collect it. It is a big threat for us, and we are unaware but inclined to provide this data, we are losing our privacy in front of the government.

My next interview was my other class member who gave me another interesting topic to think about. She doesn’t care about online privacy but not reading the terms and condition makes her little scared as well but she does not have any negative feelings for the Census form because she thinks maybe it is collected for a good reason, national security.

The last part was I asked them to start reading the terms and condition and may be if it’s possible to ask their parents or their grandparents on how they feel about online privacy and Census. The most interesting thing they mentioned to me was instead of doing only checking Google history now she is more interested to read the terms and condition and checking all social media platforms on her own privacy which is public and which is not. If she can’t trust the government why should she trust other organisations because she also found out that all the big organisations like Microsoft, Apple etc are cooperating with the government. My second interviewee found out her parents and especially her mum didn’t want to fill up the census form and she was not very inclined to participate.

Both of the resources were very useful for me and gave me a thought now to look through in detail in data privacy. Not just relating to the social media but also dig deep into how the government and all the big companies are using this data and how we should raise awareness more visually so that people will actually pay more attention to them. We will get ready to fight this cyber war and also I’m very interested to know more about the Australian laws regarding the census, research about how general people protect their own privacy, which is I think at this stage very motivating point look at.

5point Summary of my interview:

  • Age group between 30-45 are more concerned about government privacy like a census.
  • Young group age 18-25 are more concerned about social media privacy.
  • It is a great point for me to start as in a primary research and look more into a minor issue for data/online privacy.
  • Using visual or easy iconographic is more approachable to reach and create an awareness between people.
  • It is also interesting to research about how different age of people has their own way to protect their online privacy.

    thumb_IMG_3896_1024In week 4 we did a class exercise about data collection. It was the most effective way where we came up with 100 words, which relates to data and same with antonyms. We divided them into categories such as Online community, Intelligence agencies, government, corporation and hackers. We also made a subcategory and broke them into more branches to clarify and simplify the data method. This exercise was very helpful to find out about each of us and what we actually knew about data privacy or online privacy, their value and how it affects our life more. I also found out antonyms were the more effective way to look at data privacy in a different angle because it makes me think critically regarding what kind of solution or reason was behind this data method.

The next exercise was that we had to lay out all the words in alphabetical order and see everyone’s word. It was a very fun and effective exercise where we expanded more about our understanding about data privacy and issues. At the same time, we got to see what other students thought. We also had to mark each table of our issues which according to us was most important and was a big impact in our lives. By looking at our table we found out that some of the words which grabbed most people’s attention were Vulnerable, Zombie Cookies, Fraud, Control, Target Advertising, freedom, Control, permission etc. It gave me a great insight to look deep into these words which reflect on how humans are terrified about these issues. Our world is now a vulnerable position in front of online data privacy and now we are terrified about online fraud, government control and most importantly we are losing our freedom.

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The next exercise was we had to categorise them more into detail such as emotive, disruptive, inflammatory, factual etc. and after that divide them into positive and negative, simple and complex, light and heavy. This exercise was most interesting for me and also for my group because we discovered that the data issue is powerful. By looking at each issue we found that we never thought about those words and how dominant they were in our life. It also expresses our psychological behaviour, about how we think some of the issues are complex and how they are controlling our lives. The more we classified the more surprised we were and understood about each minor issue.

Another interesting thing which I find out about was how this exercise relates to my first primary research interview different age group and survey of general people. Because when I looked at the single issue, I can see some age groups are more scared about Zombie cookies, some are more into online fraud, some are more into censorship and some are more into targeted audience. After this exercise, we discussed this matter in a group. The discussion made us think about how generally most people think about how vulnerable we are and we may have different perspectives to each other, but we are mostly concerned about how data surveillance, our security , our freedom is getting lost. We also looked at the antonyms which made me think that we can pay for anything with cash instead of online banking or save our personal work in a physical form etc. We are so powerless without the internet, Google, social media etc. It is true that it makes our life easier but at the same time, our privacy is dead.

5 point summary:

  • Word exercises helped me create an outline of data privacy. More in depth and critically analyse looking at minor issue which is a good start for me for further research and development.
  • By looking at the antonyms made me critically think about what the actual reason behind this data privacy was and how it creates a problem and what kind of solution we can come up with.
  • To understand and provide clarity on how people act and behave when they see all the keywords of each issue and how they feel terrified. How the words impact them psychologically. It also helps me understand which issue are big and complex and how people are handling them. It also depends on the different age groups as well, which is another key point for me and for my research.
  • It was interesting to note how people want to save their privacy not only from the social media but also from the government. They don’t want to be followed by Government or big agencies. They want a freedom and certain level of privacy from them which is our basic human rights.

We are so powerless without the internet, Google or any online services. Data has both positive and negative effects. We can’t live without it. It is so complex and comprehensive to get people’s attention, we can raise consciousness in a more simple way using iconographic, humour jokes or simple words.


In the conclusion, I feel it was the most beneficial research for me where I got a chance to be engaged with different people and doing interviews, surveys, words exercises and branching. The more in-depth research made me look at this issue from a different angle. It is a good start for me not just to stick scholarly articles but rather than expand my knowledge by sharing with general people and find a motivation on how I can raise awareness to people to save their own privacy. I can make it more simple to engage them in this issue.

Another beneficial key point was during the week 3 and week 4 activities where I had to find 10 images and examples of where all the experts and designer tried to use this issue more and make it more visual to people. So now I can take the next step and combine my knowledge and confident to expand it more in depth to this subject.

by Ayesha Mira


Jurgenson, N. 2014, Wired, viewed 27 August 2016, <>.


Lakos, R. & Crimes, J. 2014, Why Privacy Is Actually Thriving Online, Wired, viewed 27 August 2016, <>.

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