Comic Book on Big Data from Al Jazeera America

Online graphic novella, Terms of Service: Understanding Our Role in the World of Big Data, does an excellent job of sorting out the slippery slope issues of big data collection–our willingness to hand over our data to companies for our own benefit and what the trade-offs are. The 46-page work is by Josh Neufeld and Michael Keller of Al Jazeera AmericaI  learned about Terms of Service from a recent tweet.  Last week The New School’s Trebor Scholz (@TreborSterms2 posted “I can’t wait to read this comic book about big data with my seminar.”  That sparked my interest and I was not disappointed.  This comic book is a really painless way to understand what’s at stake with data tracking practices and how we got to this point.  Even when you know though, what to do, what to do. In his report on the Public Radio International interview in November that he had with the authors, producer Bradley Campbell adds a dose of realism when he confesses that even though there is a strong movement against Google Street View in Germany and other tech firms in other parts of  Europe (which the Neufeld and Keller point out),  “still, you’re pretty much followed wherever you go. I had that experience traveling through Scandinavia. On one hand, I wanted to have a private vacation and not let any companies know my location. But I also wanted to use Google Maps and Google Translate and post photos to Facebook for friends and family to essentially travel with me. So what did I choose? The latter. Of course.”