These days, personal data mimics fiat currency in more ways than one. And, in our humble opinion, this growing trend is ubiquitous enough to no longer be limited to Millennials or digital natives. To one degree or another, we have all systematically become numb and resigned to leaving a informational footprint. Voluntarily or unwittingly, we share everything from purchasing trends to private messages and photos via various branches of the Internet, and according to the video below, 39 percent of people leave their devices unprotected.
Kaspersky Lab, the giant Russian cybersecurity provider behind many of your anti-virus software packages, recently implemented a pop-up store in East London’s Old Street Station to gauge just how willing shoppers were to part with personal data. Instead of paying with English pounds, local passersby and tourists were asked to offer up texts, photos, screenshots and other tidbits of data in exchange for merchandise before that data appeared on digital displays in a retail window for all to see over a 48-hour period. What were they buying with this sacrificial information? Well, T-shirts, mugs and screen prints from resident graffiti artist and vandal hipster Ben Eine of course. Just three photos or screenshots from WhatsApp, SMS or email for a custom mug. Want a T-shirt with a Eine design? Fork over the last three pics from your Camera Roll. For an original print, however, one has to let a staff member personally peruse their smartphone for five primo photos or three screenshots. In this day and age, all of the above seem like relatively small prices to pay for instant street credibility, right?
Part social experiment and part out-of-the-proverbial-box advertisement, Kaspersky aptly called this installation The Data Dollar Store. And although it debuted last month, its ability to expose the safety risks of postmodern living with the Internet of Things (IoT) makes it our Installation of the Week.