Out of Control—What the Web Knows about You
What do we have to click on to keep from always getting caught with our proverbial pants down as soon as we go online?
A digital identity is something taken completely for granted nowadays. Everybody has an e-mail address, uses search engines, visits websites—we all make our respective rounds on the internet. But in doing so, we leave behind traces and reveal—often intentionally, sometimes inadvertently—information like our address, contact data, recreational interests and marital status. Thus, the Web knows a lot about us.
The Ars Electronica Center’s new exhibition demonstrates what exactly is being captured in conjunction with telecommunications data retention and all the interesting information about us that online services like Facebook and Google just happen to be amassing. Exhibition visitors will also find out what steps they can take to protect their privacy. At an array of installations, you can personally experience how simple it is to falsify information or news items on the internet, and marvel at how quickly you can end up in an online dating site.
This and lots more are on display in an exhibition that, like the internet itself, will be constantly changing.
An exhibition produced jointly by the Ars Electronica Center and the Department of Secure Information Systems at Upper Austria University of Applied Sciences’ Hagenberg Campus.
An extensive timeline installed in the Ars Electronica Center elaborates on the history and development of the World Wide Web. The graphics range from a depiction of the Unix multiuser operating system developed at Bell Laboratories in 1963 to the telecommunications data retention law that just went into effect in Austria.Read More
Austrian student Max Schrems is at the center of the “Europe versus Facebook” initiative that formed in August 2011. It demanded, pursuant to the EU’s data protection law, that Facebook reveal all information it had gathered about Max Schrems. A thorough and comprehensive analysis of all the categories in which Facebook stores data about individual users yields an extraordinarily detailed jigsaw puzzle composed of personal information that users willingly input themselves as well as what is gleaned behind the scenes by Facebook on its own.Read More
To conclude their “Hacking Monopolism” trilogy, Paolo Cirio and Alessandro Ludovico took aim at big game online: Facebook. Using a home-brew computer program, they harvested a million Facebook profiles, filtered them with facial recognition software, and then grouped them according to similarities of the data as well as the faces.Read More
A good password is hard to guess. A so-called password recovery tool is a readily available computer program that lets you quickly test passwords. Here, you can see how hard it is to figure out a particular password and how long that would take. Simple passwords can even be hacked live with a gamer PC.Read More
Malte Spitz is a member of the national committee of Germany’s Green Party and an outspoken opponent of telecommunications data retention. To show how far these legal provisions go to implement the permanent surveillance of respectable citizens not suspected of any crime, he sued to force T-Mobile to release the data about him that it had stored for the period August 2009 to February 2010.Read More
The Surveillance Awareness Database is a social media project by Vienna University of Technology students Sarah Naber and Alexander Kraicsich that aims to show how widespread video surveillance of public spaces has become. The two undergrads launched a website to which users can upload photos of surveillance cameras including the installation’s geographical coordinates.Read More
“Did you know” is an impressive video with a cool, clean, minimalist style. Its subject: the social, political and economic effects of accelerating technological development. All that’s displayed on-screen are statistical statements that say something important about our constantly changing global reality.Read More
“Twistori” is a very simple Twitter tool that gives you an impression of what people throughout the world love, hate, think, believe, feel and wish for. Thousands of Tweets are scanned in real time; those that contain such terms as love, hate or think are captured and displayed in the style of a LIVE Ticker.Read More