On Monday night OpenCUNY Coordinators hosted an event on Managing your Digital Footprint. At the event we discussed the recent data leak with Facebook and Cambridge Analytica, did a quick recap on “How the Internet Works” to demonstrate when and where we generate data while browsing, and introduced several tools (listed below) to help identify and block third-party cookies and trackers.

After introducing the tools and getting a few up and running on attendees personal computers, a lively and thought-provoking discussion ensued and covered topics ranging from the need for increased digital literacy, to feelings a loss of agency in protecting one’s personal data, and we also explored the notion of “privacy” as a personal desire vs. social necessity/norm.

You can look through the topics and tools covered at the event in the slides and find links in list below. Several slides contain excerpts and quotes that both complicated and illuminated our notion of privacy and guided our approach to the event.On the last slides and listed below you will also find additional readings on data a privacy that we found particularly helping or insightful (espeically the book Blown to Bits). 

If you have any questions about the event or about the topics covered, feel free to email the OpenCUNY coordinators @ info@opencuny.org

[gdoc link=”https://docs.google.com/presentation/d/10dNx4aDBjQtOfObJTCMLMewWJPoA7JgL80KxK7GK4ns/edit?usp=sharing”  height=”1200″]

Link to Event Slides: http://bit.ly/ocprivacyslides

Privacy Tools 

Ugly Email: Alert for email tracking

Gmail/Chrome Extension (link)

→ Best for monitoring and blocking email trackers


Privacy Badger: Ad and Tracker blocker

Chrome & FireFox Extensions (links)

→ Uses algorithm and browsing patterns to determine what to block

→ Best for turning off cookie tracking


UBlockOrigin:  Ad and Tracker Blocker

Chrome & FireFox Extensions (links)

→ Uses user-developed block lists to determine what to block

→ Best for web developers, creating scripts

Quick Guide (link)


Disconnect: Data tracking & blocking

Chrome & FireFox Extension (links)

→ Best GUI easy-to-understand user interface

→ Best for understanding who is tracking you, creeping on the creeps


TunnelBear: Alternative connection creation (VPN)

Chrome & Opera Extension

→ Masking IP through browser

→ Also a Mac/Windows Desktop Tool

More Data Privacy Info & Resources

The Internet Society: Privacy News and Resources

Blown to Bits (Open Access Book): http://www.bitsbook.com/

Judge Richard Posner on Privacy  (U.S. Circuit Court, Chicago 1981-2017)

Privacy Rights Clearing House: Online Privacy: Using the Internet Safety

U.S. Computer Emergency Readiness Team: Security Tips

San Jose Public Library’s Virtual Privacy Lab: Basic information about data mining, anonymity and tracking, security, and more

Consumer Reports: 66 Ways to Protect Your Privacy Right Now