CMNS 327 Final Project

Workshop #1: What is data tracking?

Learning Objectives

Students will be able to define data tracking and surveillance capitalism.

  • Explain how data is used in our society, with a specific focus on data-tracking. Provide the benefits and drawbacks of data-tracking from angles of consumers and producers. Explain why data tracking is important in this current age in comparison to years before.Introduce surveillance capitalism and why it is important in our society today. Provide examples of companies that are involved in surveillance capitalism and how it is employed in business practices.

Recall from class

We looked at the interactive documentary series Do Not Track.

Screenshot retrieved from Do Not Track Episode List

In class, we watched the first two episodes together. To recall what happened in these episodes, here are a few sentences about what occurred in each episode.

Episode 1: Morning Rituals (6 minutes)

  • This is an introductory episode to explain the basics of how data is tracked. The interactive aspect of this episode is familiarized by asking the user to share the websites that they use for news and entertainment. The documentary then calculates the trackers that are used for each of these websites, and in turn, explains how they create your online identity based of these shared trackers.
Screenshot retrieved from Do Not Track Episode 1: Morning Rituals

Episode 2: Breaking Ad (8 minutes)

This episode provides a timeline of how advertising on the Internet first came to life and how the industry has evolved to what it is now. This episode introduces how surveillance capitalism came to fruition, and how personalized advertisements have become the new norm.

Screenshot retrieved from Do Not Track Episode 2: Breaking Ad


Watch the three remaining episodes that you have not already watched or learned about from your peers and present the main ideas in one paragraph. In another paragraph, reflect on what you have learned and how these concepts can be related to your daily life.

After watching every episode, pick your favourite episode and read a related article that shows up in the side bar of the selected episode introduction screen. Provide a summary of what you learned from this article.

You may also provide screenshots of anything that you found particularly interesting in the documentary. If you find any article that relates to what was discussed in this documentary, you may also include that in your response with a short description of how it relates. Make sure to note down the parts that you are most interested in, as this will be useful for workshop #3, where you will need to pick a topic to make a digital project about.

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