My initial design proposal had a focus on creating awareness about online privacy in general, however it was not anchored to a specific event or sub issue (see blog post 8). After conversing with my tutor and a fellow student I went back over my research and was able to ground the basis of my proposal around the issue of data ownership. Narrowing my focus allowed me to consider things such as currency, trading and market places when refining the designed response—such things that infer interactivity.
When pitching my proposal I explained that I would present a large scale data visualisation to the public. Upon dissection of this, I became aware that the “visualisation” did not consider how people could interact and react to what they saw. Shifting to a generative design framework has allowed me to work towards an open source, interactive system which is far more effective in creating a conversation about data ownership
My tutor urged me to work on mapping out key stages of the generative system (collecting raw data and aggregating it) as this is the most crucial part of the proposition. The early proposal was lacking a solid foundation for actually collecting data and perhaps not poetic enough to create a meaningful dialogue around the issue. Breaking the system down further has allowed me to query what data is to be collected and the space which the proposed response takes place in.
txt me lol (WIP title)
A generative system
The issue of data ownership is double pronged. Whether we want to admit it or not, data is now a complimentary currency and the general public needs to work out how to not get short changed. Firstly, there is a lack of education and awareness about who owns what; as online interactions become more seamless, it is increasingly difficult to know when our data is collected and who is using it and for what purpose. Should personal users have the rights to their data or should it be at the discrepancy of service providers? Using the recent implementation of the metadata retention scheme as an example, there was little publicity around the issue, nor was the government well informed enough to articulate what it meant for the Australian population. Secondly, due to the rapid development of digital technologies, there appears to be a missing framework which regulates and holds accountable government bodies/agencies, corporations and service providers. Without well thought out policies and extensive planning, personal users are vulnerable to many forms of online exploitation.
The possible change
Ideally, change would see an increase in public awareness and the development of an ongoing conversation about data ownership. Having this issue in the public spotlight puts pressure on government bodies, corporations and service providers to be transparent and held accountable for their actions. Like many other social issues, change starts with knowledge and dialogue
The design action to support change
In order to facilitate a conversation around data ownership I propose to create an open source data market place/trend predictor. Any mobile phone user can anonymously send a completely unfiltered text message to a designated hotline number in a 14 day period. Each text message (limited to 140 characters) received is added to a archival database.
Once the data scraping period is up each text message is then analysed based on parameters (e.g. the ones below) and assigned a value between ($0.01 and $100 AUD). As more text messages are received the base value ($0.01 AUD) will begin to shift as supply/demand is considered.
- frequency of words that a
- Time of day message is sent
A live auction is then held in a public space where participants can bid on a randomly selected printed/framed text message. However, like a luggage auction the bidder does not know what the text message will say, only the starting price. A successful bidder keeps the framed piece of art.
My tutor suggested using the work of Eike Konig as a reference point for how to visualise the final outcome of the design response—thinking about word play and typographic design to comment on how data can be recontextualised.
by Samson Ossedryver