A Charge for Privacy

year 2011services Concept Development, GUI Design, Fabrication, Programming and Installationrecognition Gold Addy, 3 Gold Creativity International Awards, Charlie Award, Creativity-Online Editor's Pick, Creator's Project, PSFK, Neuberger Museum of Art in Purchase, NY and at ISMAR in Munich.

The piece was originally an installation for Art Basel and is a reminder that nothing online is really “free.” We often forget (or might not even realize) that the online services we depend on for our most intimate and private exchanges (Facebook, Gmail, etc) are not exactly “free” nor are they exactly “private.”

Every word you email to your family and every link you share with your friends is being archived, indexed and monetized, either in the form of targeted ads and/or other data-mining ventures. Sometimes these institutions encroach a bit too much on our most private data and when those that notice make a stink about it they get accused of being miscreants or at best get an, “Ooops, we’re sorry we invaded your privacy like that.” Like it or not, this is the normative economic exchange for services online today, privacy is the currency of our digital ecology.

“Charge but beware [...] reminds everyone nothing is ‘free’, especially not online…”

A Charge For Privacy attempts to recreate this relationship by offering a utility, essentially an iPhone charging station, at the cost of privacy. Basel goers are welcome to charge their cell phones at the station, but not without agreeing to the Terms of Use (written all along the sides of the station). When an iPhone is plugged in the station proceeds to download all the photos stored on the phone. These terms make clear the exchange, ” […] You (b) grant Branger_Briz an irrevocable, perpetual, non-exclusive, transferable, fully paid, worldwide license (with the right to sublicense) to use, copy, publish, stream, store, retain, publicly perform or display, transmit, scan, reformat, modify, edit, frame, translate, excerpt, adapt, create derivative works and distribute (through multiple tiers), any and all of the images retrieved.” The second the photos are downloaded, the station immediately projects them as a public digital-graffiti installation.

“…there was one particular installation that has lingered in our memories for its relevance to one of the most equally contested and ignored topics in the digital conversation: privacy.”

see PSFK article here

Thnx: Sushi Samba, Joanna Cisowska, Paloma M Vazquez, Macias Advertising, Miami Independent Thinkers and Alain “Haitian Hillbilly” Maximilien.

interactiveexperientialinstallationprivacydigital literacyprojectionmuseum