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?

Image courtesy of RdigitaLIFE

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