Surveillance and Streaming Resources

Over the course of the last four months (August-December), our Sociology class has studied digital culture and online behavior. Since there are so many topics under this umbrella, our class was divided into different groups, with each group focusing on a specific aspect of digital culture and online behavior. Our group was responsible for learning about surveillance and streaming services. We have provided you with a list of sources that we found most influential and beneficial to our research along the way. These sources include academic resources, open-sources and non-academic sources (both articles and media). We fact-checked all of our sources in order to make sure we have been given, and therefore can give you, the most accurate information.

First, you will see sources related to the overall concepts of surveillance and privacy, including information on tracking, advertising, how these all work and examples of what has happened to consumer information. The next section will provide you with information more specific to the cloud and privacy. We provide sources that inform you on what the cloud is and how it works, some of the benefits and some of the concerns surrounding the cloud. The final section will provide you with resources addressing streaming services and society’s shift to the digital versions of old services. These sources will provide information on different kinds of streaming services, the dangers of them, how they are becoming more popular, how they put user privacy and security in danger and how this relates to the digitization of our society.

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Overall Concepts of Surveillance and Privacy

Academic Sources

1. Brown, Ian. 2014. “Social Media Surveillance.” In The International Encyclopedia of Digital Communication and Society, edited by R. Mansell, P.H. Ang, and P. Ballon. John Wiley & Sons. (

This reading discusses how surveillance is prevalent everywhere and between many kinds of people. The reading argues that the main goal of social media is to use collected data to form a picture of each user which can then be sold for profit. Social media platforms are very powerful, as they don’t just collect data from their sites, but they also gather it from other ways to track (surveys and loyalty cards are mentioned). While surveillance has been around for a long time, it has become a main factor in today’s society. It is becoming so easy to perform surveillance on people, that the author argues that this could become the norm in our future society. The reading mentions some ways that the Civil Society argue would make protection of individuals stronger.

2. Elsevier. 2014. “Target and Snapchat Suffer Major Data Breaches.” Computer Fraud and Security 2014(1): 1, 3. Doi:

This reading discusses multiple large companies/platforms, and how the data they store has been breached, including the retail chain Target and the social media app Snapchat. Hackers and the criminals of the cyber world are gaining knowledge and smarts constantly. This reading suggests that we need to change our security practices in order to make them more effective.

3. Henderson, Bethany R. 2004. “Hey, That’s Personal! When Companies Sell Customer Information Gathered Through the Internet.” American Bar Association 14(2). Retrieved September 10, 2018 (

This reading uses retail as an example to make the argument that without us even being aware, the world we experience is very different from the world others experience, as it is being personalized by the platforms we use, and our data being tracked. There are not many laws that stop companies or other individuals from taking our private information. Because of the lack of harsh rules regarding privacy and data collection, industries and companies have created their own rules for data collection. Recently, however, the FTC has disciplined multiple companies for allowing a lack of security on their platforms or websites.

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1. Fowler, Bree. 2017. “Gifts That Snoop? The Internet of Things Is Wrapped in Privacy Concerns.” Consumer Reports, December 13. Retrieved September 10, 2018. (

This report discusses the “internet of things,” meaning that toys, devices, products, etc. are connected to the internet in some way. The popularity of these electronic devices and toys continues to grow. However, this report clearly feels that before consumers connect these devices to the internet or our home networks, we need to understand what we are giving up. This report gives us some tips for how they think we could improve the safety of our information. If the old systems are working fine, why should we use technology that could possibly expose our personal information?

2. McCarthy, Justin. 2018. “Worries About Person Data Top Facebook Users’ Concerns.” Gallup. Retrieved September 9, 2018 (

Based on the data collected from the study in this report, over half of Facebook users in the United States are “very concerned” with the fact that their private information is exposed and sold. A reason why the number of concerned individuals has increased is assumed to be related to the recent issues surrounding Cambridge Analytica. Users of Facebook are also nervous about potential viruses and ads they receive. Similar to Facebook, many individuals using Google were nervous about their personal data being tracked and sold to others. This article’s main argument is that how these platforms and companies handle their inner workings with attempts to protect user data might be the key to their success in the long term, or if not accomplished, could be the cause of their downfall.

3. Rainie, Lee. 2018. “Americans’ Complicated Feelings About Social Media in an Era of Privacy Concerns.” Pew Research Center. Retrieved September 10, 2018(

This reading discussed how as time progresses, there is an increasing amount of attention on social media companies in regard to how they take our information and distribute it to other companies/businesses. The article focuses on studies done at the Pew Research Center. One set of data shows that there has been an increase in the amount of social media users over the past ten years or so, and it is still growing. While this growth is largely due to the convenience of these platforms and the ease they provide to our busy lifestyles, as the reading brings up, with this comes more issues regarding privacy. While many try to protect their data, this is an extremely hard task to achieve, one that may never be fully accomplished.

4. Paul, Kari. 2017. “This Teddy Bear’s Picnic is Hackable When They’re Connected to Wi-Fi.” Market Watch. Retrieved September 11, 2018 (

This article looks at teddy bears that have internet connection. This article goes more into depth about a situation regarding these toys. CloudPets was a toy that allowed parents to record a message and send it to their child’s stuffed animal all through an app. However, it was discovered that multiple million recordings sent to children were “exposed” to possible hackers. In addition, almost one million emails and passwords to their accounts were exposed as well.

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Non-Academic Sources (Articles)

1. Chaitin, Daniel. 2018. “Edward Snowden: Facebook is a Surveillance Company Rebranded as Social Media.” The Washington Examiner, March 17. Retrieved September 9, 2018.(

This article is about Edward Snowden, and his reaction to the Cambridge Analytica scandal that happened on Facebook. While Facebook blamed the Cambridge Analytica firm for not getting rid of user data, Edward Snowden blames Facebook, and in general, social media platforms, for making this whole situation possible. Snowden makes the argument that social media companies disguise themselves, and that they really are “surveillance companies.” We read about the large negative response that has come from this situation towards Facebook.

2. Nakashima, Ryan. 2018. “AP Exclusive: Google Tracks Your Movements, Like it or Not.” Associated Press. Retrieved September 12, 2018 (,-like-it-or-not).

This reading discusses another way that we are being tracked and watched by big companies, and how we can often be deceived as to what these companies know about us. In this reading, Google is specifically discussed, as it will track your movement even when you request that it does not. Even if your privacy settings are turned on not to allow Google to track you, it is very possible that they still are. As the numbers show in the article, a main reason that Google will track and collect user information is because they get huge profits off of selling this information for ads. We may think we are not being tracked but that takes much more than a click of button.

3. NPR Staff. 2016. “Online Trackers Follow our Digital Shadows by ‘Fingerprinting’ Browsers, Devices.” NPR. Retrieved September 12, 2018 (

This podcast is focused on a kind of tracking that many have not heard of. Cookies are no longer the single main focus of tracking, but companies are now using yet another technique called “fingerprinting.” In fingerprinting, websites and third parties are able to retrieve lists of everything we have ever installed on our devices (font is an example given in the podcast). This allows these companies to recognize when you come back online and to distinguish you from others. Using data, they retrieve from your devices, they are able to create a profile about you and send you targeted ads because they know it is you.

4. Zomorodi, Manoush. 2017. “Do You Know How Much Private Information You Give Away Every Day?” TIME, March 29. Retrieved September 11, 2018. (

This article was informing technology users about the many ways that they are tracked through their devices. First of all, the article makes it clear that these technology companies, app developers and SNS don’t want to stop users from accepting to the terms that allow them to be tracked and under surveillance, so they don’t make anything about this topic stand out in their terms of agreement. The text mentions that Americans do care about their privacy, but we keep pouring out personal information because we don’t see any future consequences for ourselves.

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Non-Academic Sources (Media)

1. TEDx. 2013. “Social Media Surveillance: Who is Doing It? David Lyon at TEDxQueensU.” Youtube.Retrieved September 13, 2018 (

This TED talk discusses how surveillance is everywhere and it really isn’t possible to avoid being watched by someone or something. While companies and businesses are some of the main sources of surveillance, we, as individuals, also track and survey others online. This is leading to a new digital culture of surveillance from every direction. The main argument throughout this talk is that social media can be good, and this isn’t a reason to stop using it, but we need to be aware that our personal lives have become our public lives. There is no separation anymore between the two.

2. CBC News. 2017. “Privacy and Smartphone Apps: What Data Your Phone may be Giving Away (CBC Marketplace).” Retrieved October 12, 2018: (

This video shows an app created to show the kinds of information that companies and hackers can retrieve from you. Multiple individuals were asked to download an app and agree to the terms, and they all did. Throughout this experiment, the individuals behind the study gained all kinds of personal information. In the end, they informed the participants of what information was taken just because they downloaded the app and agreed to the terms.

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• Courtesy of Flickr

Cloud security and online privacy

Academic Sources

1. Anderson, Jedidiah, Erik Skare, and Courtney Dorroll. 2018. “Nothing to Hide, Nothing to Fear? Tools and Suggestions for Digital Data Protection.” TheQualitative Report 23(5):1223-1236 (

Anderson et al. show that the same cyber-infrastructure that has been employed to advance research techniques for all persons also is capable of engaging in all-encompassing surveillance techniques. As a result of the Snowden leaks and further releases about government spying scandals, people are raising red flags and being wary of the possibility of surveillance. Anderson et al pose an important question: with the threat of surveillance and access to private information, should researchers avoid sharing information and data on cloud services at all?

2. Bianco, Jamie S. 2009. “Social Networking and Cloud Computing: Precarious Affordances for the ‘Prosumer’.” Women’s Studies Quarterly37(1):303-312  (

Bianco defines cloud computing as, “the use of a network-based application that also handles user data storage” (Bianco 2009:303). He also notes the importance of social networking sites in society, and how it is significant that these various sites operate through cloud technology. Through different case studies, Bianco examines the impacts the different sites have on society, and how the cloud-based network enables communication. Furthermore, the use of cloud computing is also efficient because it can offset high technological costs.

3. Nieuwenhuis, Lambert J. M., Michel L. Ehrenhard and Lars Prause. 2018. “The Shift to Cloud Computing: The Impact of Disruptive Technology on the Enterprise Software Business Ecosystem.” Technological Forecasting and Social Change129:308 (

This article examines how the shift to cloud computing has created a transformation in the IT industry and other related industries. Instead of on-site storage, companies are making the switch to cloud-based technologies. As a consequence, there have been changes in technical consulting companies. The emergence of the cloud not only is transforming current jobs and roles, but is also creating new opportunities for external developers, business partners, and consumers.

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1. Moll, Ricarda, Stephanie Pieschl, and Rainer Bromme. 2014. “Trust into Collective Privacy? The Role of Subjective Theories for Self-Disclosure in Online Communcation.” Societies4(4):770-784. Doi:

Moll et al (2014) make the claim that digital technologies create a dichotomy of usage with respect to the concern of privacy. Digital technologies endanger the preservation of privacy through facilitated information transference and storage. However, at the same time, they make it very easy to establish and improve one’s involvement in different social networks. The article also states that humans display what is known as “default trust.” Essentially, people have to accept the fact that they are unable to fully control access to their online information.

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Non-Academic Sources (Articles)

1. McMullan, Thomas. 2015. “How We Talk about the Cloud Shapes the Way We Perceive Internet Privacy.” The Guardian, October 7 (

This article posted in The Guardian examines the social discourse surrounding cloud usage by the public. McMullan makes this article accessible to readers of all kinds by outlining what the cloud refers to and how it is associated with online privacy. He states, “The cloud is a fluffy, approachable means to digest a global network of servers. It is also a vague, formless entity that grows and shrinks above our heads” (McMullan 2015). This description, as McMullan points out, enables users and consumers not to worry about why or what actually has control of our data. It poses important questions about privacy and the storage of personal information.

2. Mineo, Liz. 2018. “When It Comes to Internet Privacy, Be Very Afraid, Analyst Suggests.” Harvard Gazette, August 30 (

Mineo (2018) interviews cybersecurity expert Bruch Schneier, asking questions about government and corporate surveillance. There are several points that Schneier touches on regarding government data-collection. First and foremost, Schneier argues that nothing has changed since the Snowden revelations against the NSA – the NSA’s data-collection program hasn’t changed, and the laws limiting what the NSA can do haven’t changed, which is alarming for internet users. Also, Schneier states, “surveillance is the business model of the internet. Everyone is under constant surveillance by many companies, ranging from social networks to cellphone providers. This data is collected compiled, analyzed, and used to try to sell us stuff” (Schneier 2018).

Furthermore, he makes the claim that Google, the most widely used search engine in the world, knows more about him than his wife does because Google memorizes and stores everything. This interview provides striking comparisons and analogies to put into context the true scope of online data-collection. 

3. Szoldra, Paul. 2016. “This Is Everything Edward Snowden Revealed in One-Year of Unprecedented Top-Secret Leaks.” Business Insider. September 16 (

Szoldra (2016) provides a detailed timeline of the Snowden NSA leaks that started in 2013 and continued for a period of time following the first release. This case is cited today as the most prominent example of government surveillance, and it led to the entire population understanding the nature of the spying. The timeline is very informative and paints a picture of how the events transpired in chronological order. Since the leaks, many questions have been raised about online privacy and storage of personal information in cloud-based storage, so this article is useful to understand how the discourse originated.

4. Turow, Joseph. 2018. “Let’s Retire the Phrase ‘Privacy Policy’.” The New York Times: Opinion.August 20 (

In this article, author Joseph Turow talks about how the majority of Americans think the phrase “privacy policy” means their information will be kept private. But, as he points out, the policy actually refers to how companies douse your private information, so the terminology is very misleading. One reason for this according to Turow is because most people don’t actually read the privacy policy, so they aren’t aware of what is going on. He comes to the conclusion that “privacy policy” as a phrase benefits data collectors, not the public, so there needs to be revisions of how words are used and people need to be more informed of how companies are using their personal data.

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Non-Academic Sources (Media)

1. Techquickie. 2014. “What is ‘The Cloud’ as Fast as Possible.” Youtube (

This Youtube video provides a brief but informative outline of what is meant by the term “the cloud.” It talks about things such as the origin of the term, the use and employment of cloud-based storage, and interconnectivity of computer networks, (to name a few). The video uses simplified language intended for a wide audience to understand – not just those who have backgrounds in computing.

2. Balboa Capital. N.d. “Cloud Computing Benefits for Small Businesses.” Visually

This infographic highlights some of the potential advantages that cloud computing can offer for small businesses. It provides statistics to back up claims and cites strategies for using the cloud.

Streaming Services on Different Platforms • Courtesy of Flickr

Digitization and Streaming

Academic Sources

1. Hilderbrand, Lucas. 2010. “The Art of Distribution: Video on Demand.” Film Quarterly64(2):24–28. (

This article looks at the rise of video on demand. Focusing on two distribution teams the study saw the growing success of streaming rather than theatrical releases and DVDs.

2. Borja, Karla, Suzanne Dieringer, and Jesse Daw. 2015. “The Effect of Music Streaming Services on Music Piracy Among College Students.” Computers in Human Behavior 45:69–76. (

This article looks at the difference a streaming service make on piracy among college students. The study conducted found that college students with streaming services were also likely to pirate music. The effect of risk and reward play a key role on why students chose to pirate music. This behavior is a result of the availability of music services.

3. Dixon, Wheeler Winston. 2013. Streaming: Movies, Media, and Instant Access. Lexington, Ky: University Press of Kentucky (

This chapter in an academic book looks at the world of streaming. With the patterns in users, soon streaming will be the main way people consume media. The author looks at various examples as to how streaming is taking over.

4. Tryon, Chuck and Chuck Tryon. 2013. “Redbox Vs. Red Envelope, or Closing the Window on the Bricks-and-Mortar Video Store.” in On-demand culture digital delivery and the future of movies. New Brunswick, NJ: Rutgers University Press (

This chapter in an academic book on digital culture looks at how various convenience rental services are being forced out of the market by digital copies of the same media. Digital copies are becoming more available and have impacted the market for brick and mortar stores.

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1. Anderson, Monica. 2016. “More Americans Using Smartphones for Getting Directions, Streaming TV.” Pew Research Center, January 29 (

This article looks at the increasing numbers in Americans using smartphones for services and Looks specifically at directions and video streaming services. The number of people reaching for their phone for these services has increased. Age groups, such as young adults are most notable. This affects the use of physical uses and a shift in digital reliance.

2. Wormald, Benjamin. 2015. “One-in-Seven Americans Are Television ‘Cord Cutters.’” Pew Research Center: Internet, Science & Tech, December 21 (

This article looks at Cord Cutters which are people who opt for streaming television rather than have a cable or satellite service. It is found that the number of Cord Cutters is rising as streaming services are becoming more accessible and affordable compared to cable or satellite. The article looks at how income is a factor in the rise of cord cutters.

3. Rainie, Lee. 2017. “61% Of Young Adults in U.S. Watch Mainly Streaming TV.” Pew Research Center, September 13 (

This article looks at the rising rates of TV streaming services by young adults. The rise in streaming services has seen cable and satellite providers losing customers to these services. Interestingly, this study also discusses differences in gender and how they relate to streaming. Finally, this reading includes a brief reference to digitization and how it is impacting aspects of culture (streaming services being one way). 

Mobile App Streaming • Courtesy of Devianart

Non-Academic Sources (Articles)

1. Sisario, Ben and Karl Russell. 2017. “In Shift to Streaming, Music Business has Lost Billions.” The New York Times, March 24 (

This article by the New York Times examines the effects of streaming on the music industry. While sales in streams are rising at good rates, the sales of other forms of music such as music videos and CDs are declining. The shift will force the music industry to restructure the mediums in which they distribute their product.

2. Hengel, Chuck. n.d. “Streaming vs. Terrestrial Radio: Who Will Win?” Responsive Advertising Blog (

This web article looks at streaming versus grounded radio. The main points of the article include a notable rise in streaming radio with several services. Despite a rise in streaming, terrestrial radio is not in harm of being displaced as the leader radio. That is for several reasons including current availability of radio and broad options on the air. Terrestrial radio looks to streaming for additional revenue opportunities. 

Streaming Music • Courtesy of Flickr

Non-Academic Sources (Media)

1. TheStreetTV. 2015. “Amid Rise of Video Streaming Services, Consumers Are ‘Overwhelmed’ With Too Much TV Content.” YouTube(

This Youtube video looks at cord cutters from the perspective of an entertainment & media advisor from PwC. The advisor states that there are rises in cord cutters in the younger demographic. More and more households are acquiring both streaming services and cable/satellite options. An insight on cable/satellite providers fighting back with their own methods. 

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