About The New Organs

Ever had the feeling that the internet knows more about you than you think it should? Perhaps you’ve mentioned something in conversation that later appeared in an online advertisement, or noticed that web content changes based on your physical location.

The New Organs is a project to gather, archive and investigate the theories and realities of corporate surveillance. Over the past year we've collected stories about weird online ads — ads that seem to know too much, as well as your theories of why you might be seeing them. Using these stories as a starting point, we’ve investigated the details of how internet companies monitor, exploit and manipulate us in an attempt to understand how surveillance capitalism operates.

If you’ve seen anything online that strikes you as unusual, invasive or creepy, we invite you to contribute your story via the web, or email at contact@neworgans.net.

You can also download the archive of stories we've collected in json format.


The New Organs is by Sam Lavigne and Tega Brain, and was commissioned by Mozilla.

What can I do?

Although privacy is a systemic problem, as an individual the easiest thing you can do to reduce the amount of ads you see and improve your online privacy, is install an adblocker on your desktop browser and phone. We recommend uBlock Origin for Firefox, Chrome, Safari, and Edge. For iOS and Android, we suggest Firefox Focus which is a browser that includes an adblocker.

Reading List

For more links and materials, visit the New Organs Arena Channel

Data anonymization and Geolocation

Daniel Kondor, Behrooz Hashemian, Yves-Alexandre de Montjoye and Carlo Ratti, 2018. Towards user mobility traces in large-scale datasets
FastCo Article on this paper: Kelsey Campbell-Dollaghan, 2018. Sorry, your data can still be identified even if it’s anonymized.

Facebook and Data

Kashmir Hill, 2018. Facebook Is Giving Advertisers Access to Your Shadow Contact Information

Kashmir Hill, 2018. 'People You May Know:' A Controversial Facebook Feature's 10-Year History

Kashmir Hill, 2018. How Facebook Schemed Against Its Users

Gabriel J.X. Dance, Michael LaForgia and Nicholas Confessore, 2018. As Facebook Raised a Privacy Wall, It Carved an Opening for Tech Giants

Jeff Larson, Madeleine Varner, Ariana Tobin, Noam Scheiber and Julia Angwin, 2017. These Are the Job Ads You Can’t See on Facebook If You’re Older

Carole Cadwalladr and Emma Graham-Harrison, 2018, Revealed: 50 million Facebook profiles harvested for Cambridge Analytica in major data breach.

David Carroll, 2019. The US Should Pay Attention to Foreign Cambridge Analytica Probes.

Google and Data

Professor Douglas C. Schmidt, 2018. Google Data Collection

Listening and Voice Devices

Hyunji Chung, Michaela Iorga, Jeffrey Voas, and Sangjin Lee, 2017. Alexa, Can I Trust You?

Adam Clark Estes, 2017. Don't Buy Anyone an Echo

Apps and Surveillance

Elleen Pan, Jingjing Ren, Martina Lindorfer, Christo Wilson and David Choffnes, 2018. Panoptispy: Characterizing Audio and Video Exfiltration from Android Applications. Proceedings of Privacy Enhancing Technologies.

Vines, P., Roesner, F. and Kohno, T., 2017. Exploring ADINT: Using Ad Targeting for Surveillance on a Budget-or-How Alice Can Buy Ads to Track Bob.