The Data Bargain

When we interact on social networking sites and email, we trade privacy for a hit of the brain’s “cuddle” chemical. What’s gained and lost in the deal?

• 195 words

Google knows what information you’re looking for, Amazon knows what book you should read next, and Facebook can suggest new friends you should connect with. But is there a catch to all of this convenience? “People will trade away their privacy for convenience,” says author, lawyer, and First Amendment scholar Marvin Ammori, a fellow of the New America Foundation. “Just a few companies have control over the content we access, the views we see, the people we communicate with.”


  • Marvin Ammori, author, On Internet Freedom (@ammori)
  • Ann Cavoukian, Information and Privacy Commissioner, Ontario (@ipcinfoprivacy)
  • Kashmir Hill, privacy columnist, Forbes (@kashhill)
  • Jules Polonetsky, director, Future of Privacy Forum (@JulesPolonetsky)


  • Host, producer, and writer: Ramona Pringle
  • Director of photography: Lisa Lightbourn Lay
  • Motion graphics: Olney Atwell
  • Post supervisor: Wil Noack
  • Post-production assistants: Dylan Morgan, Ian Holland
  • B-roll camera: Eric Sleeth, Joey Ferguson, and Luke Nater
  • Field camera: Jefferson Wright
  • Editorial assistants/social media: Marie Alcober, Ishani Nath
  • Content manager: Martin Waxman
  • Special thanks: Charles Falzon, Gerd Hauck, Val Fox, Sheldon Levy, Ben Peto

RdigitaLIFE is an independent project, based at Toronto’s Ryerson University, that explores human interactions with technology.