Lifelong Learning Platform | LLLP - European Civil Society for Education

Report on the European Conference on Digital Footprint

On the 24th of October 2019, the Lifelong Learning Platform together with the European Digital Learning network (Dlearn) and with the support of the DIGIT project partners, organised a European conference in Brussels to address the “role for education in teaching safe and responsible behaviour online”.

Over 80 participants joined the event, representing civil society (⅓ of attendees), educational institutions (one third), policy makers (10%), companies (10%) and citizens (10%). They were presented with high quality presentations orchestrated by Mia Forbes Pirie, the event’s talented Master of Ceremony. All participants also enjoyed structured discussions during the workshops. Speakers represented a variety of organisations and institutions from across the European Union, the European Commission, community and adult education centers, universities, civil society organisations, knowledge centers, schools and consumer organisations. 

See the event programme here

The main topic of the conference was digital footprint,

i.e. “the trail of data you create while using the internet”.

While the concept is not yet fully well-known or understood, there is a lot of pre-existing awareness and interest in what it covers (i.e. storing, use and sharing of data). Citizens, generally, only start to care about digital footprint for personal reasons, because they are aware there are some existing risks associated with sharing data, actively or passively, on the web and through the use of mobile devices. Those risks can be related to safety, reputation, rights, intellectual property, identify theft, screen addiction or online political participation etc. While the conference talks addressed those risks, it also looked at solutions and things that we can do individually, at work or in the family context, to mitigate them. 

Find the photos of the event here

In the morning, the aim was to introduce these issues to the participants in a European context. Digital footprint is indeed a common European challenge (if not global) and a few initiatives are already launched at EU level with the aim to tackle the challenge. Among the most known initiatives is the General Data Regulation Protection (GDPR) and among the most promising is the recent Digital Education Action plan. At national level, most common approaches are through consumer protection and awareness raising campaigns. However, there is still insufficient education and training opportunities offered to learners, in particular adults, on that topic.

Dlearn’s President, Gianluca Coppola, also a partner in the DIGIT project, then presented the results of – probably the largest in the EU, having collected almost 20,000 entries – survey on digital footprint. The results showed that 80% of respondents do not read the privacy policy text in full before agreeing to new subscriptions, while the same number try to be more mindful of what they publish online. 50% would like their data to remain private and not used for any purpose, while 70% acknowledge that they are not in full control of their digital identity.

More results of the Dlearn’s survey can be found here  

This was followed by a presentation of the DIGIT project by the coordinator, Katarzyna Pydzińska Azevedo from the company InNCREASE. DIGIT’s ambition was to “boost adults competences on digital footprint”, and partners can tell that after 2 years of implementation, it was a success. DIGIT provided a guide for educators as well as useful training materials to use in adult education classes. The training programme was well received by those who piloted it, both educators (over 50 tested the programme) and adult learners (more than 250 were trained!), and partners hope that those resources will further be used in the future. The Lifelong Learning Platform Director, Brikena Xhomaqi, then made the case for more policy actions at EU level to educate citizens on responsible online behaviours

More results from the DIGIT project here 

During the afternoon, some key related topics were approached: ethics and the management of data, digital citizenship and how to engage citizens in producing their own awareness campaign, the use of game-based learning to teach about responsible online identity and the issue of intellectual property rights and data. This session helped in feeding the policy recommendations produced at the end of the project’s duration (October 2019).

Do you want to learn about more practices on digital footprint? 

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Speaker presentations


Live-streaming videos (2 hours in total)

An after-movie will be produced soon on the conference.