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What tech companies know about your kids

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    Every day, every week,
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    we agree to terms and conditions.
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    And when we do this,
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    we provide companies with the lawful right
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    to do whatever they want with our data
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    and with the data of our children.
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    Which makes us wonder:
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    how much data are we giving
    away of children,
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    and what are its implications?
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    I'm an anthropologist,
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    and I'm also the mother
    of two little girls.
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    And I started to become interested
    in this question in 2015
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    when I suddenly realized
    that there were vast --
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    almost unimaginable amounts of data traces
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    that are being produced
    and collected about children.
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    So I launched a research project,
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    which is called Child Data Citizen,
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    and I aimed at filling in the blank.
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    Now you may think
    that I'm here to blame you
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    for posting photos
    of your children on social media,
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    but that's not really the point.
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    The problem is way bigger
    than so-called "sharenting."
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    This is about systems, not individuals.
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    You and your habits are not to blame.
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    For the very first time in history,
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    we are tracking
    the individual data of children
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    from long before they're born --
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    sometimes from the moment of conception,
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    and then throughout their lives.
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    You see, when parents decide to conceive,
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    they go online to look
    for "ways to get pregnant,"
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    or they download ovulation-tracking apps.
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    When they do get pregnant,
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    they post ultrasounds
    of their babies on social media,
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    they download pregnancy apps
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    or they consult Dr. Google
    for all sorts of things,
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    like, you know --
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    for "miscarriage risk when flying"
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    or "abdominal cramps in early pregnancy."
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    I know because I've done it --
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    and many times.
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    And then, when the baby is born,
    they track every nap,
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    every feed,
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    every life event
    on different technologies.
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    And all of these technologies
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    transform the baby's most intimate
    behavioral and health data into profit
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    by sharing it with others.
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    So to give you an idea of how this works,
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    in 2019, the British Medical Journal
    published research that showed
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    that out of 24 mobile health apps,
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    19 shared information with third parties.
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    And these third parties shared information
    with 216 other organizations.
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    Of these 216 other fourth parties,
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    only three belonged to the health sector.
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    The other companies that had access
    to that data were big tech companies
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    like Google, Facebook or Oracle,
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    they were digital advertising companies
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    and there was also
    a consumer credit reporting agency.
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    So you get it right:
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    ad companies and credit agencies may
    already have data points on little babies.
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    But mobile apps,
    web searches and social media
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    are really just the tip of the iceberg,
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    because children are being tracked
    by multiple technologies
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    in their everyday lives.
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    They're tracked by home technologies
    and virtual assistants in their homes.
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    They're tracked by educational platforms
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    and educational technologies
    in their schools.
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    They're tracked by online records
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    and online portals
    at their doctor's office.
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    They're tracked by their
    internet-connected toys,
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    their online games
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    and many, many, many,
    many other technologies.
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    So during my research,
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    a lot of parents came up to me
    and they were like, "So what?
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    Why does it matter
    if my children are being tracked?
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    We've got nothing to hide."
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    Well, it matters.
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    It matters because today individuals
    are not only being tracked,
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    they're also being profiled
    on the basis of their data traces.
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    Artificial intelligence and predictive
    analytics are being used
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    to harness as much data as possible
    of an individual life
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    from different sources:
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    family history, purchasing habits,
    social media comments.
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    And then they bring this data together
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    to make data-driven decisions
    about the individual.
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    And these technologies
    are used everywhere.
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    Banks use them to decide loans.
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    Insurance uses them to decide premiums.
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    Recruiters and employers use them
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    to decide whether one
    is a good fit for a job or not.
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    Also the police and courts use them
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    to determine whether one
    is a potential criminal
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    or is likely to recommit a crime.
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    We have no knowledge or control
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    over the ways in which those who buy,
    sell and process our data
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    are profiling us and our children.
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    But these profiles can come to impact
    our rights in significant ways.
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    To give you an example,
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    in 2018 the "New York Times"
    published the news
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    that the data that had been gathered
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    through online
    college-planning services --
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    that are actually completed by millions
    of high school kids across the US
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    who are looking for a college
    program or a scholarship --
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    had been sold to educational data brokers.
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    Now, researchers at Fordham
    who studied educational data brokers
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    revealed that these companies
    profiled kids as young as two
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    on the basis of different categories:
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    ethnicity, religion, affluence,
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    social awkwardness
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    and many other random categories.
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    And then they sell these profiles
    together with the name of the kid,
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    their home address and the contact details
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    to different companies,
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    including trade and career institutions,
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    student loans
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    and student credit card companies.
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    To push the boundaries,
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    the researchers at Fordham
    asked an educational data broker
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    to provide them with a list
    of 14-to-15-year-old girls
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    who were interested
    in family planning services.
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    The data broker agreed
    to provide them the list.
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    So imagine how intimate
    and how intrusive that is for our kids.
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    But educational data brokers
    are really just an example.
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    The truth is that our children are being
    profiled in ways that we cannot control
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    but that can significantly impact
    their chances in life.
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    So we need to ask ourselves:
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    can we trust these technologies
    when it comes to profiling our children?
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    Can we?
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    My answer is no.
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    As an anthropologist,
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    I believe that artificial intelligence
    and predictive analytics can be great
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    to predict the course of a disease
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    or to fight climate change.
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    But we need to abandon the belief
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    that these technologies
    can objectively profile humans
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    and that we can rely on them
    to make data-driven decisions
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    about individual lives.
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    Because they can't profile humans.
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    Data traces are not
    the mirror of who we are.
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    Humans think one thing
    and say the opposite,
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    feel one way and act differently.
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    Algorithmic predictions
    or our digital practices
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    cannot account for the unpredictability
    and complexity of human experience.
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    But on top of that,
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    these technologies are always --
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    always --
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    in one way or another, biased.
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    You see, algorithms are by definition
    sets of rules or steps
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    that have been designed to achieve
    a specific result, OK?
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    But these sets of rules or steps
    cannot be objective,
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    because they've been designed
    by human beings
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    within a specific cultural context
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    and are shaped
    by specific cultural values.
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    So when machines learn,
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    they learn from biased algorithms,
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    and they often learn
    from biased databases as well.
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    At the moment, we're seeing
    the first examples of algorithmic bias.
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    And some of these examples
    are frankly terrifying.
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    This year, the AI Now Institute
    in New York published a report
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    that revealed that the AI technologies
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    that are being used
    for predictive policing
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    have been trained on "dirty" data.
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    This is basically data
    that had been gathered
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    during historical periods
    of known racial bias
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    and nontransparent police practices.
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    Because these technologies
    are being trained with dirty data,
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    they're not objective,
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    and their outcomes are only
    amplifying and perpetrating
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    police bias and error.
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    So I think we are faced
    with a fundamental problem
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    in our society.
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    We are starting to trust technologies
    when it comes to profiling human beings.
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    We know that in profiling humans,
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    these technologies
    are always going to be biased
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    and are never really going to be accurate.
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    So what we need now
    is actually political solution.
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    We need governments to recognize
    that our data rights are our human rights.
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    (Applause and cheers)
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    Until this happens, we cannot hope
    for a more just future.
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    I worry that my daughters
    are going to be exposed
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    to all sorts of algorithmic
    discrimination and error.
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    You see the difference
    between me and my daughters
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    is that there's no public record
    out there of my childhood.
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    There's certainly no database
    of all the stupid things that I've done
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    and thought when I was a teenager.
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    (Laughter)
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    But for my daughters
    this may be different.
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    The data that is being collected
    from them today
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    may be used to judge them in the future
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    and can come to prevent
    their hopes and dreams.
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    I think that's it's time.
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    It's time that we all step up.
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    It's time that we start working together
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    as individuals,
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    as organizations and as institutions,
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    and that we demand
    greater data justice for us
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    and for our children
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    before it's too late.
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    Thank you.
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    (Applause)
タイトル:
What tech companies know about your kids
話者:
Veronica Barassi
概説:

The digital platforms you and your family use every day -- from online games to education apps and medical portals -- may be collecting and selling your children's data, says anthropologist Veronica Barassi. Sharing her eye-opening research, Barassi urges parents to look twice at digital terms and conditions instead of blindly accepting them -- and to demand protections that ensure their kids' data doesn't skew their future.

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Video Language:
English
Team:
closed TED
プロジェクト:
TEDTalks
Duration:
11:01

English subtitles

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