CMNS 327 Final Project

Workshop #3: How does tracking affect society?

Learning Objectives

Students will be able to understand the impacts of data tracking on society.

  • Students will use their critical thinking skills to understand how they are impacted as a society by the data tracking that occurs around the world. They will also deliberate how the concepts that they have learned so far can be used to reclaim their online identities in the future.

Students will be able to reflect on the data tracking knowledge that they have learned in this workshop and use it in the future.

  • Students are encouraged to foster a healthier relationship with their technological devices. Although there is yet to be an all-encompassing solution to improve data privacy and algorithms, the knowledge that they have gathered from this workshop will cause them to think twice about what they are agreeing to when they pick up their phone or laptop. By producing their own digital media projects about data, they will feel like their voice is heard and that they have an impact on the issue. In some cases, students may even contemplate their own creative solutions that are not mentioned in this workshop.

Recall from class

Now that we viewed what data tracking does to us on an individual scale, we can now look at it from a macro perspective. In this final workshop, we attempt to look at the future and how we can resolve the problems of data tracking. Although there is yet to be an all-encompassing solution to how we can keep our data private, we can provoke the minds of students to figure out how they can remedy the usage of their data for the future. With the resources and knowledge that we possess today, we find that being aware of how our data is being used by others is a good initial step at acting against it.

Big Data Was A Mistake

This YouTube video delves deep into how big data is used in problematic ways. This provides a transition into how data tracking is not only an infringement on our privacy, it also affects people’s social and power differences.

Clips from Black Mirror Season 3 Episode 1: Nosedive

This episode of Black Mirror provides a dystopian example of how data and social media can be used in the future. Although this example is quite extreme, it provides a cinematic visual of the expanding opportunities for algorithms and data that can be quite problematic.


WWe realize that there is no all-encompassing solution to keeping our data private in a society where it is shared all around us. With that being said, the best remedy is informing others. Your homework is to create a short video to do just that. This video can take many forms – be creative with it. It can be a public service announcement (PSA) attempting to alarm others, or it can be an informative video attempting to educate others, like ASAP Science or Vox. Another idea can be a direct call out or message to organizations that use surveillance concepts. This video can be between 5 to 10 minutes and can be completed with a partner.

There are many topics to choose from when it comes to data and tracking. Here are some topics that you can choose from, but you are not limited to:

Big data, surveillance, surveillance capitalism, filter bubbles, advertising in the new age, advertising personalization, search engine data collection, or a platform of your choice (social media platforms like Facebook, Instagram, or Google, Microsoft, etc.) and the data that they collect and how do they use it to sell to you.

You may find additional resources that can help you with a topic here.

If you need any clarification or are choosing a topic that is not listed above, please check in with your workshop facilitator to make sure that it is within the scope of our workshop. Students can also find some ideas for topics on the workshop website.

After all videos are done and submitted, they will be posted onto a separate workshop web page where you can watch what your other classmates have created, and you can comment on each other’s work.

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