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Give It Away

Art is at its best when it wakes us up to the reality that surrounds us that we haven’t noticed yet.  Or, perhaps noticed on a subconscious level, but weren’t able to take a step back and observe critically.

Gizmodo has a post about a new art installation which shows how easily we give away personal information online.

You give them an image, your email address, and fingerprint, and in exchange, you get a cute card.  Holding the cute card you realize how flimsy it is next to what you’ve just parted with, but isn’t that the way it goes on so many sites?  You give them access to your Facebook account and all that entails in exchange for access to a mindless quiz.  Or you give them an image of yourself in order to see how you’d look as a cartoon character.

The artist describes the information collection as a playful process, and isn’t that the way it usually goes?  No one would fill out a form if the data collectors said, “just give us all this information and we’ll bombard you with ads.”  Instead we think we’re just taking a mindless quiz, when we’re really handing over hundreds of data points.

It’s a thought-provoking exhibit.  It made me look long and hard at the ways I gave away information this week without really being cognizant of the fact that the bit of fun was in exchange for facts about me.


1 Rachel { 10.27.15 at 11:29 am }

This is such a good thing. I have long ago given up on clicking on pretty much anything anywhere because I took a class in University that talked about the way the internet plays us. My dad recently asked me how FB could possibly know that yesterday he googled a very specific brand of PVR – when he logged into FB it showed an add for that specific PVR. Isn’t it amazing how these two seemingly non-connected entities know that he searched for that?

It’s scary, actually.

2 a { 10.27.15 at 12:45 pm }

I try to keep information as segregated as possible, but the Internet is an evil entity. I guess I could just stay off of it, but it’s SO useful! Sigh…

3 Lori Lavender Luz { 10.27.15 at 2:59 pm }

I try to be vigilant, but I bet I fall prey more than I know.

4 Jess { 10.27.15 at 10:47 pm }

I stopped doing all those quizzes on Facebook when I realized that they were collecting info on me and providing bizarre info no one really needs. What kind of wife am I? (Why do I need Facebook to tell me?) What tree would I be? (Who cares? Although redbuds are lovely.) Who is my spirit animal? (Amy Schumer, but that’ll never be a choice!) Info grabbing at its worst. Although it is freaky how ads are always connected even of Facebook is closed. Weird. Interesting art installation, I think it’s good top spread awareness on this internet age issue!

5 Heather { 10.28.15 at 9:28 am }

Back in the late 80’s/early 90’s when I was working my first job as a cheese girl in the local grocery store we had a meeting about the upcoming change in our store (chain of stores). No more coupons! Instead our grocery store chain would offer a card that would give the customer the discounts without having to remember the coupon. As a teen this seemed cool to me. The store manager relayed that she has already gotten an angry call about the use of this new system. Basically, the customer called the card “the devil” and “the root of all marketing and corporate evil”. Simply because now, Grocery Store Chain could track what she, as an individual purchased.
If that little club card was the devil? Then the Internet must be the Devils love child with Darth Vader. I honestly think about this stuff more and more in relation to my children. I don’t want their data spread through the interwebs. My data is out there, I’m more selective now, but wasn’t at first. I want them to be smarter about it.

6 JustHeather { 10.28.15 at 2:57 pm }

I do take less quizzes and games than I used to, but I know I still freely give out more info than I should… It comes along with being a citizen of the internet.

7 Valery Valentina { 10.29.15 at 11:59 am }

it is easy to use many email addresses for a specific/temporary purpose, but you cannot really get a temporary fingerprint… In the Netherlands we had a big discussion on needing a fingerprint for a passport, and I feel uneasy about it. I prefer to protect my privacy as much as I can. So no FB for me. I avoid ordering things over the web because I don’t want to leave my address all over the web either…

(c) 2006 Melissa S. Ford
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