Unbeknownst to him, an invisible swarm of tracking technologies surveil Rodin’s online interactions throughout his day. Within milliseconds of Rodin logging into class in the morning, his school’s online learning platform begins tracking Rodin’s physical location—at home in his family’s living room, where he has spent most of his days during the pandemic lockdown. The virtual whiteboard passes along information about his doodling habits to advertising technology (AdTech) and other companies; when Rodin’s math class is over, trackers follow him outside of his virtual classroom and to the different apps and sites he visits across the internet. The social media platform Rodin uses to post his homework silently accesses his phone’s contact list and downloads personal details about his family and friends. Sophisticated algorithms review this trove of data, enough to piece together an intimate portrait of Rodin in order to figure out how he might be easily influenced.
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