Peer Privacy Protectors
A Privacy Guide by Teens, for Teens

Un Guide sur la vie privée
conçu par des adolescents pour les adolescents


about the
Peer Privacy Protectors Project (PPPP)


— by teens, for teens —

A group of teens aged 13-19, from across the greater Toronto area, farther afield in Ontario, and even remotely from BC, worked for a year to learn more about privacy and how to protect it. They listened to experts speak about privacy research in an orientation talk and four workshops that focused on the priority privacy areas identified by the Office of the Privacy Commissioner of Canada: Economics of Personal Information; State Surveillance; Reputation and Privacy; and The Body as Information. Then they all wrote about what they learned, and what they thought about it. Young people in high school today are some of the first to have lived their whole lives with the internet. The reality is, adults haven’t figured out what the rules should be or how to assess the benefits and risks of living lives where physical and online spaces are intertwined, but teens know it is equally essential to navigate both successfully to get through daily life. This book is by teens and for teens. We hope you like what the Peer Privacy Protectors have put together.


— For teachers and parents —

Young people are perhaps the most intensive technology users in Canada; recent research from the MediaSmarts Young Canadians in a Wired World Project (funded by the Office of the Privacy Commissioner of Canada) found that “virtually all of the students” surveyed in their most recent youth survey had access to the internet, “inside and outside of school” (MediaSmarts 2015, p. 3). Young people are also one of the most surveilled segments of the population. In September 2015, The Global Privacy Enforcement Network, in its third annual privacy sweep, found that most apps and websites for children and youth collect personal information, and many share information with third parties, probably for advertising purposes. Troublingly, at the same time, the OPC 2014 Privacy Survey states that “Canadians under 25 years of age stand out as having the lowest self-assessed concern for and understanding of their privacy rights.” Clearly, youth are vulnerable to privacy risks, and there is a compelling need for improved communication and education about privacy rights for young people.

The PPPP addresses that need. We used a connected learning approach to engage teen participants in a series of workshops to enhance their knowledge of privacy risks and rights and help them develop this guidebook based on these workshops to educate their peers. We also consulted with Canadian educators in a series of interviews to identify classroom needs for privacy education generally, and obtained informed feedback on the project’s student-developed materials prior to preparing them for wider circulation. This book, and the accompanying website, is the result. We hope it proves informative and helpful in classrooms across Canada.


Peer Privacy Protectors

Shivani Bala 

Raphael Bruk

Vivian Chu

Ravneet Dhaliwal

Harkiran Gill

Abeer Hasan

Erum Hasan

Tania Kengatharan

Shreya Kumar

Maggie Lin

Warren Liu

Natela Makarashvili

Soham Mehta

Afreen Mohamed

Samena Rashid-Mohamed

B. Sandhu


Miraj Umar

Ashwini Yogarajah


— About the CCLA and CCLET —

The Canadian Civil Liberties Association and Education Trust (CCLA and CCLET) is a non-partisan, independent, national, non-profit organization that has been at the forefront of protecting fundamental rights, freedoms and democratic life in Canada since 1964. CCLET has long experience talking with Canadian youth (and their teachers) about their rights. In 2014 alone, our education programs were presented to 9,477 students from elementary to university level, in 345 classes across 113 institutions. We engage students and provide current and future teachers with the knowledge and skills to develop critical thinking about rights and freedoms in the classroom.


— OPC —

This project has been funded by the Office of the Privacy Commissioner of Canada (OPC); the views expressed herein are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect those of the OPC.

— Thanks —

We want to thank all of our amazing teen Peer Privacy Protectors who stuck with the project across two different school years, to the researchers who travelled to Toronto and gave up a Saturday afternoon to share their expertise and inspire us, to the teachers who shared their ideas and feedback, and to the Office of the Privacy Commissioner of Canada.