Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Departmental Honors


Computer Science


Personal data is behind many of the online interactions that people have through social media and other online sites and services. This data allows sites to understand their users, which in turn allows them to provide better content for their users. This data is also used to determine user interests, which these online services use to target more relevant advertising to their users, and share the information that they collect about their users with third parties. It is only recently that this personal data is being regulated by lawmakers, the businesses running these sites are held accountable for managing the data that they collect on users, and that the users of these sites are given a greater degree of control over how their data is used, however these regulations are not universal. Additionally, the data that online services have collected on their users has been used by third parties for malicious purposes, such as the Russian interference in the 2016 U.S. presidential election. The collection of personal data allows for the development of new technologies such as facial recognition and genealogy through DNA, but without regulation, moral dilemmas surround the collection and use of such personal data.

For my capstone I built a website structured like a social media application. On this site I have written a number of posts that communicate the findings of my research to the users of this site. Additionally, on this website visitors are able to see some of the type of personal data that social media sites can collect about them while they use the service.



Faculty Mentor

Chad Mano