What The Internet Knows About You (And Why You Should Care)

Prior to the pandemic, I was having a great time traveling across New York State, facilitating workshops on web literacy. This workshop was commissioned by the Ramapo-Catskills Library System and was presented in spring 2019.


Many of the online applications we’ve come to know and love trade their free services for access to your personal data. And whether we know it or not, the data we create has become an extremely valuable commodity.

This workshop will provide a gentle introduction to how the internet works so that we can identify how and why our information can be collected, both with and without our knowledge.

We’ll take a tour of the online information flow, discuss the ways in which our information is used, and describe how even our smallest actions — like which posts we stop to read and which links we click –amount to data so valuable that internet companies will do almost anything to keep your attention. We will explore the ways in which internet companies make their products compelling and provide steps steps to take to reduce your contributions (should you choose) to companies that grow rich based on your time and attention.

By the end of this workshop, you’ll have a better sense of the data that’s being collected about you, why it is being collected, and what we can do to protect ourselves from this relentless surveillance.