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Medill Privacy in an Age of Security

Northwestern University's News21 fellows look at America's new system of surveillance, developed by the government with the help of private data mining firms after 9/11. One story reports on how the Social Security Administration's massive databases are being used in homeland security investigations; another uncovers new details about a secretive program in which the Department of Education shared personal information on hundreds of student loan applicants with the FBI. Two immersive interactive presentations explore the digital trails we leave behind in our daily lives and government data-mining initiatives that might incorporate information about you.

Digital Trails

By Phil Stuart, August 15, 2006

This is truly the digital age. We log onto computers at school and work, use our debit cards to buy lunch, scan our membership cards at the gym; the list goes on and on. With each of these everyday acts we leave a digital bread crumb that enables others to track our movements. But how often do we stop and wonder, who is following these virtual trails?

News21 producers Meredith Mazzotta and Phil Stuart take us on a trip through an average summer day with a 27-year-old woman from Arlington, Va.

Watch as she sprinkles her digital bread crumbs and find out who is picking them up. View Now >

Learn more about digital trails. Launch Interactive >

Original video and photography by Phil Stuart and Meredith Mazzotta. Interactive illustrations, original graphics and Flash/PHP programming by From Scratch Design.


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