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Private Bits: Privacy, Intimacy, & Consent

Want to learn more about privacy? Contact us!

Alexandria Chisholm

Alexandria Chisholm  
(aec67@psu.edu or 610-396-6242)

Sarah Hartman-Caverly
(smh767@psu.edu or 610-396-6243)

Follow us @Digital_Shred

Additional Privacy Workshops

Welcome to the Private Bits Workshop!

In this workshop we will:

  • Meet algorithmic matchmakers, digital lovers, and virtual friends - as well as bots, ghosts, catfish, and butchers
  • Explore how consent applies to our digital (data) bodies
  • Discuss the impact of technology - positive and negative - on relationships and wellbeing

decorative only

Image courtesy of Unsplash


  This workshop is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International License.

Hartman-Caverly, S., & Chisholm, A. (2023). Private bits workshop.  Penn State University Libraries.  https://guides.libraries.psu.edu/berks/privatebits

Warm-up Reflections

Visit each station posted throughout the room and answer the prompts:

  • What are the characteristics of a healthy relationship?
  • What are the characteristics of an unhealthy relationship?
  • How do you meet / seek out potential romantic partners?
  • What does consent mean to you?

Made with Padlet

Could you fall in love with a bot?

Explore artificial intimacy by visiting This Person Does Not Exist, BOT OR NOT, and 36 Questions.

Share your reflections on the Padlet!:

  • How can dating apps and sites, or malicious users, use techniques like bots, deepfakes, and AI-generated conversations to increase engagement on their platforms?
  • How do these techniques impact intimacy and private?
  • ...Could you fall in love with a bot?

Made with Padlet

Mapping our Digital Bodies

Select an app or device from the *Privacy Not Included links below and use the guided worksheet to evaluate how personal data is collected, shared, & interpreted.

Mozilla *Privacy Not Included Product Reviews:

Have FRIES with that: Consentful tech

"Consentful technologies are digital applications and spaces that are built with consent at their core, and that support the self-determination of people who use and are affected by these technologies." (consentfultech.io)

Tech is consentful when consent is:

  • Freely given - Does the tech mislead people into doing something they normally wouldn’t do?
  • Reversible - Do people have the right to limit access or entirely remove their data at any time?
  • Informed - Does the tech use clear, accessible language to inform people about risks and the data they are storing?
  • Enthusiastic - Are people giving up their data in order to access necessary services, not because they want to?
  • Specific - Does the tech only use data the person has directly given, not data acquired through other means, and use it only in ways someone has consented to?

Select one case study from the list below and use the FRIES framework to create a consentful tech analysis.

  • How does this tech respect consent?
  • What consent issues can you identify?
  • How consentful is this tech?

Case Studies

Algorithmic Matchmakers: Dating Apps and Social Media

Digital Bodies: Porn and Chatbots

Digital Lovers: Teledildonics and Smart Sextech

Virtual Friends: Asexual Intimacy

Workshop Reflection