How to make a video and use it as a main way presenting design concept .


Davis Chen, Nick Freeland, Xun He, Somalia Jamall


Insights, Music & Sounds, Video Editing, Acting

We asked, how might we make the public more aware of the fact that their data is often sold for purposes they have not authorized to people they do not know?



In the case of the Cambridge Analytica scandal in early 2018, user data was acquired from Facebook to create more targeted political advertising, with the promise of swaying a major election. Governments can also gain access to this data. This case reminds us that we must be aware that our data can be used in ways that we don’t knowingly consent to.



Before we sign up for a new service or buy a new piece of technology, we must ask ourselves:

- What kind of data is being collected from me?

- Am I comfortable with this data being sold and used in ways I may never know about?

At the very least, we must be educated about what is going on so that we can protect ourselves as we feel necessary.




Our solution is a VR experience that forces users to confront their lack of agency in this situation by physically putting the user in the middle of such a transaction.

VR Experience

Our concept is a VR art installation that will demonstrate to a user firsthand their data being sold, and show them how painful it can be to have their agency about this process removed. At the start they will be totally immersed in new technologies that entice them to interact with their world in fun ways. At the end it will be revealed that the data they’ve input into these applications is being sold without their consent.


Envision an innovative way for interacting with information in the future.

Showing how technology use could evolve over time to affect one’s daily life and ability to “opt-out” of use.

Show the user a fantasy representation of their data being bought and sold.

This should force the user to confront this issue in a more “real” way. The user will have to grapple with their own sense of powerlessness about the situation.

Provide a paper proof of their private data being purchased after the VR experience ends.

This will allow the user to relate the events of their future/fantasy VR experience to things that are happening in their current day-to-day life, and to reflect later.


We should be wary about the other ways this data might be utilized. Everyday, the data we create gets stored by the applications, devices, and websites we use [1, 2]. Mostly, this information is used to convince users to buy things: “Websites need data to make their products better and to sell you the advertisements that keep them afloat,” says David Nield of Gizmodo [2].

Paul Stephens, a director at the Privacy Rights Clearinghouse, says “It’s hard to tell who’s selling what to whom” [3]. This fact could be disturbing to some people. The fact that many people either (1) don’t know what data is being collected from them when they use a new app/website and (2) don’t know for what purposes this data is being sold becomes an issues of consent. We know that there are companies such as Acxiom that traffic in our data, and that they have “on average, 1,500 pieces of information on more than 200 million Americans” [4].


  1. Brandon Jones. 2016. What Information Does Facebook Collect About Its Users?. Retrieved March 24, 2018 from

  2. David Nield. 2017. Here’s All the Data Collected From You as You Browse the Web. Retrieved March 24, 2018 from

  3. Paul Boutin. 2016. The Secretive World of Selling Data About You. Retrieved March 24, 2018 from

  4. Steve Kroft. 2014. The Data Brokers: Selling your personal information. Retrieved March 24, 2018 from