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Digitalization and Its Impact

Activity 1

Digitalization and Its Impact

Group 1

Social media is, after all, just a small piece of the data puzzle. “We really have two forms of digital selves,” explains Jen King, director of privacy at the Center for Internet and Society at Stanford University. “One is basically all the data that companies collect on us — that’s what you find in the hands of data brokers. The other is the one you construct, the one we curate and spend a lot of time trying to control. The two things overlap, but one is controlled by you and the other is not.”

[...] Even something as innocuous as a phone number can be used to reveal where you live, who you’re related to, and whether or not you’ve ever been arrested. This information can also be used to breeze past security questions used to secure online accounts.

[...] Given the scale of the problem and the difficulty of staying completely offline, digital privacy is more important than ever before.

“How to erase your personal information from the internet (it’s not impossible!)”, Zoe Schiffer,, 2019.

a. Pick out the equivalents of the following words from the text.

1) identities (n.) ➜
2) someone who sells data (n.) ➜
3) organize (v.) ➜
4) pass casually (v.) ➜

b. Find the equivalents of these French words in the text.
1) données (n.) ➜
2) vie privée (n.) ➜
3) se chevaucher (v.) ➜
4) inoffensif (adj.) ➜
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a. Who is Jen King? Why is she reliable?

b. True or false? Justify by quoting a line from the text.

1) Our digital data isn’t considered as a business.

2) The information available with a phone number can be used to hack online accounts.

3) Social media is the real problem for digital privacy.

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Explain in your own words what is meant by “two forms of digital selves”.

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Group 2

It used to be that when we thought of the future, we dreamed of the new and wonderful things people could be doing in it. Now, when we think of the future, we anticipate the development of new technologies [...].

A seminal year in this cultural shift was 1984. In fiction, it was the year of George Orwell’s totalitarian dystopia, in which surveillance, absence of privacy, and what we now term “alternative facts” enabled the erasure of individuality. 1984 was also the year when William Gibson released Neuromancer, the book that popularized the term “cyberspace.” Gibson’s novel tells the story of a washed‑up computer hacker hired by a mysterious employer to stage “the ultimate hack.” Neuromancer isn’t exactly a utopian counter‑vision to 1984, but at least it expands the playing‑field.

[...] The themes explored in that year remain at the core of our culture’s concern with the impact of digital innovation on human identity. Neuromancer has inspired an entire genre of science fiction as well as inspired the Hollywood blockbuster film series The Matrix.

“Our Exponential Selves: Identity in the Digital Romantic Age”, Tim Leberecht,, 2017.

Pick out the equivalents of the following words in the text.

1) influential (adj.) ➜
2) move, change (n.) ➜
3) at the centre (n.) ➜
4) deletion, removal (n.) ➜
5) worry (n.) ➜
6) organise (v.) ➜
Voir la correction

Fill in the blanks for each book or film.



The Matrix

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Tick the elements you would associate with the phrase “alternative facts”. Explain what you understand from it in your own words.







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Group 3

The world is more connected than ever before. Increasingly significant aspects of our lives are being played out online. As our homes, our cars and even our fitness and health devices connect over the internet, they are transmitting thousands of bits of information about us.

But as we increase our connectivity, we’re exposing ourselves to new risks. [...]

Cyber researchers have been working for years to help develop the right protocols to protect our homes, our physical safety and even our governments. [...]

Originally built as a way to secure cryptocurrency transactions, blockchain is a digital platform that verifies and records exchanges. It creates an indisputable history of these transactions that cannot be modified by a single user, eliminating opportunities for fraud. It is this feature that has some heralding blockchain as a potential solution for some types of cyber vulnerability. But does blockchain have the practical applications we need to keep our digital information secure?

“Is Blockchain the Future of Cyber Security?”, Etta Di Leo,, 2019.

Find the equivalent of these words in the text.

1) announcing (v.) ➜
2) preserve (n., v.) ➜
3) characteristic (n.) ➜
4) small quantity (n.) ➜
5) keep a written account (v.) ➜
Voir la correction

Use elements from the text to explain what “blockchain” is.






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Group 4

Pick out the equivalents of the following words from the infographic.

1) publicitaires (n.) ➜
2) comportements (n.) ➜
3) cibler (v.) ➜
4) tarifs (n.) ➜
5) stocker (v.) ➜
6) localisation (n.) ➜
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Explain in your own words what each operator does with your data.

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Groups 1, 2, 3 & 4
Let's recap! Recap your document and what it explains about the limits and uses of sharing your personal data online. Imagine solutions to the issues raised.

Useful vocabulary: Internet users have been targeted by... Their data are likely to be... The notion of absence of privacy had already been... but cyber researchers have now been trying to... by + V-ing.

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