Educational Game

The Scoop: How to Protect Your Digital Privacy in the Age of Surveillance Capitalism

The perception of Generation Y as “digital natives”, whose very minds have been shaped by the technology they were raised alongside (Prensky, 2001), is increasingly under fire. Many young adults struggle with anything more than basic operation of technology, and lack the digital literacy to find and discern accurate information on the Internet. In an environment of increasing surveillance and malicious intrusion into corporate and personal data, there can be severe consequences to this skill gap. However, because of the assumption of competence attached to Generation Y, accessible post-educational resources are scarce for those outside of specific technology-related fields. This project aims to create a game which will serve as a stepping-stone for those interested in gaining knowledge and empowering themselves to take control of their digital lives. By presenting real-world scenarios of gradually increasing complexity, through gameplay environments focused on strategy and careful decision-making, digital literacy and security skills can be built from the ground up to serve as a foundation for further research and the development of secure personal habits.
About the Author
Yerachmiel Paquette

Jeremy is an audiovisual technician and Certified Technology Specialist (CTS), with 7 years of experience in setup/teardown, troubleshooting and design for installed systems, and corporate event planning. Jeremy enjoys finding opportunities to connect with other AV professionals, learn about industry standards and best practices, and improve his own skills. He recently relocated to Calgary (June 2020) for a new job opportunity, so he's finishing his time at Ryerson remotely. After graduating from the Ryerson Theatre School in 2017 with a BFA in Performance Production, Jeremy worked as the lead AV technician for the brand-new WE Global Learning Centre in downtown Toronto. He spent two years developing the organization’s capabilities and process for running high-quality live broadcast events across international borders and featuring world-renowned personalities. In September 2019, he joined the Master of Digital Media program at Ryerson to hone his creative skills and gain experience working with people from all disciplines of digital media. As part of MDM, he is thrilled to share his MRP with his colleagues and fellow Ryerson students.

About the Project


espite being raised as digital natives, many Millennials do not fit the stereotype of the tech-savvy young person. While it's true that most have been raised using the Internet, sending email, and creating documents, images, and video content, when it comes to a deeper understanding many find themselves lacking. There's even increasing evidence that Millennials rate themselves more highly in technical ability than their test scores can support. In the face of an increasingly technological world, what are the consequences of a generation which doesn't realize how little it understands technology?

One area with potentially the greatest impact is digital privacy and information security. Some of the largest companies in the world - names like Amazon, Google, Microsoft, Facebook - make billions collecting user data. Every fragement of a person's life, online and offline, is aggregated and analyzed. It's called surveillance capitalism, and it's not going away anytime soon.

This MRP aims to teach Millennials primarily, but really anybody who's interested in learning, how companies collect and use our data, and how to effectively protect ourselves from some levels of surveillance. As an educational game, it aims to be accessible, intuitive, and activate learning pathways involved in critical thinking and problem solving. As a video game, it aims to be fun above all.

If COVID has taught us anything, it's that we're all vulnerable. With so much of our professional and educational activity moving online, at least for the time being, we're at risk of playing into the hands of companies siphoning that data to profile us, and to sell products and services. Who didn't come out of lockdown with at least one shiny new purchase made solely because they were bored? Even if our window onto the Internet is more and more under the control of advertisers, the least we can do is learn how we're being tracked, and how to claw back a little bit of privacy for our digital selves. Nobody would consider buying a house without a door - so why use a computer without knowing how to close that virtual door?