IM perspectives from the young and old

11 Apr 2013

Last week the IMPRINTS team at Northumbria University held a workshop event, inviting younger and older members of the public to engage in identity management discussions. These invaluable intergenerational conversations enabled the sharing of ideas, provided different perspectives, and sometimes encouraged heated debate!

The scenarios we presented to our groups included:

  • Airport security, and how we might be asked to identify ourselves in the future
  • The use of QR codes integrated into objects, to allow identification
  • Location-based technologies designed to track and tailor information, based on geography
  • Emergency jewellery
  • Life-logging, the collection of vast amounts of digital information

We also created more general activites, with groups being asked to consider the re-design of identity cards, a 'day in the life' of someone living in 2030, and passwords and PINs in comparison to biometric solutions.

Whilst analysis of the qualitative data is ongoing, there were a few observations we made during the day. In previous focus groups, older adults felt quite strongly about their privacy, and that certain technologies may infringe on their rights. In the workshop discussions however, people considered that ease of use and convenience would often outweigh the concerns for a small scale privacy intrusion. Another observation of the younger groups was the hesitation and concern regarding data collection. Sometimes we assume that younger people are more willing to disclose information and share their identites, in order to benefit from a service. In fact, however, the youths we spoke to described how they loved technology, and they couldn't live without personal devices such as iPhones, but they were still concerned about the misuse of their personal information.

The day was filmed, and participants also provided soundbytes on camera, in order to produce a short film for project dissemination- we are eagerly awaiting the results!