Keeping safe – online

5 March 2010

Sunderland City Council has teamed up with a group of academic researchers to put on an exciting interactive event aimed at making internet users more aware of the problems of disclosing personal information online. The event forms part of the nationwide Festival of Social Science which is run by the Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC) - the leading funder of social science research in the UK - and is intended to help the general public discover more about the world of social science. This event is being held on the 13 March at 10.30 and 12.30 at the Sunderland Museum and Winter Gardens.

The Exploring privacy: your privacy and the internet event begins with a mime about a case of mistaken identity online and the privacy implications that ensue from it. This leads into an audience discussion which uses a multi-media presentation to find out their views about giving out personal information online, not just, for instance, when shopping but also when using social media such as Facebook.

The event will be showcasing the Visualisation and Other Methods of Expression (VOME) research project which is seeking to raise awareness about online privacy. It involves academic researchers working with Sunderland City Council to produce tools to help online users deal with issues such as privacy of personal information and consenting to that information being used appropriately. It also aims to help those offering online services to respond more effectively to concerns about privacy.

Dr Lizzie Coles-Kemp, the VOME project manager said: "This is a fantastic opportunity for members of the public, who want to do more online, but feel constrained by worries about their own privacy, to come along and tell us about these concerns and maybe learn a little which might help them feel more secure in their future online dealings."

The event is being staged by Sunderland City Council and VOME which, in addition to the Council involves Royal Holloway, University of London, Salford and Cranfield Universities the Consult Hyperion privacy consultancy, the ESRC, the Technology Strategy Board and the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council.

For further information contact

ESRC Press Office:

Notes for editors

  1. Exploring privacy: your privacy and the internet
    • Organiser: Royal Holloway University of London, Cranfield University, Salford University, Consult Hyperion, Sunderland City Council.
    • Venue: Sunderland Museum and Winter Gardens, Burdon Road, Sunderland. SR1 1PP
    • Audience: suitable for all
  2. The Festival of Social Science is run by the Economic and Social Research Council. It runs from 12 to 21 March 2010, alongside National Science and Engineering Week. It features events from some of the country's leading social scientists the festival and celebrates the very best of British Social Science research and how it influences our social, economic and political lives - both now and in the future. The Festival provides insight into research in a variety of formats; from traditional lectures and exhibitions to theatrical performances, film screenings and topical debates. The Festival is aimed at a range of different audiences, including policymakers, business, the media, the general public and students of all ages.
  3. The Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC) is the UK's largest organisation for funding research on economic and social issues. It supports independent, high quality research which has an impact on business, the public sector and the third sector. The ESRC's planned total expenditure in 2009/10 is £204 million. At any one time the ESRC supports over 4,000 researchers and postgraduate students in academic institutions and independent research institutes. You can also follow updates from the ESRC on Twitter (@ESRC).