Personal Info Becomes Currency at The Data Dollar Store


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?

Personal Info Becomes Currency at The Data Dollar Store

Ben Eine, Image Credit: AOL

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.  


About Author

Jason Kushner is a videographer, editor, writer and filmmaker living in the Greater Atlanta Area. With an educational background combining film and journalism, Kushner has shot video and written for a myriad of publications and multimedia projects including Creative Loafing Tampa,, Starline Films and Digital Signage Connection. His 2009 documentary American Colonies: Collapse of the Bee became an Official Selection at 12 international film festivals, won Best Documentary at the 2009 Central Florida Film Festival and a John Muir Gold Award at the 2009 Yosemite Film Festival.  In 2015, he became Digital Media Editor for Digital Signage Expo, LightShow West and LED Specifier Summit and has since become Digital Content Manager for those shows’ parent company, Exponation.

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