Data Culture — Responders Group 4

In the Do Not Track mini-documentary series, Brett Gaylor, explains how cookies record our online behavior and every time we log into a site, click on something, or browse, the cookies will ultimately be able to build more complex insights into who we are, what we like, and what we may want to see or do next.  If you are having a hard time understanding cookies, think about it as the black parasite in Spider Man 3, that latches on to Peter Parker and fashions a black Spiderman suit.  The more Peter wears the black suit, the more the black parasite can adapt and understand its host, and thus ultimately exploit Peter.  

In Dataveillance and Countervailance, Rita Raley explains, “there are basic steps one can take to delete cookies, but it seems unnecessary to do so because they do not interfere with everyday computer use; in fact, some of them are functionally necessary and the end result is that one encounters advertisements that may be of interest.” So despite cookies’ ability to spy and record, many do not care and are not paranoid. Although our group has come to the consensus that this offers conveniences when it comes to online shopping and finding the best discount packages, there are some major concerns to this level of surveillance sophistication.   

In the same reading, Raley writes, “For every system of disciplinary power, as Anthony Giddens puts it, there is a “countervailing” response from those in precarious, subordinate, or marginal positions, which is to say that dataveillance and countervailance must be seen as inextricably connected” (131).  As of right now, the Trump administration is placing a significant emphasis on deporting undocumented immigrants, and emotions have been heightened with the repeal of Obama’s DACA act.  Ethics and opinions aside, one question we would like to bring up is if it is just for the government to arrest an undocumented immigrant based on social media insights, especially conversations that cookies have recorded.  

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