The big fat surveillance-wolf is coming! But is it going to eat you and shit a list with your data?

Everyone is talking about it, yet many are not really aware of the depth in which we are being watched and how much data is collected every time we make a move.

A popular saying goes: If you’re not paying, you’re the product. It has been widely debated whether or not it is okay for internet-giants such as Facebook and Google to collect and use our personal data. Is it totally unacceptable, doesn’t it matter much or is it the company’s right, since they host the website and people give away their data voluntarily?

Anonymous data?

We give our data away voluntarily and we might think we have nothing to hide, but do we understand what it means that organizations have so much data about us? I didn’t. But I do know that technologies are being developed faster than ever and the combination of different technologies means that seemingly anonymous data can now be combined into very personal ones. A case study on this combination of technologies showed that an anonymous picture of a university student, combined with data from a database quickly revealed the identity of the student on the photo along with a list of his personal data. This means that companies can combine official and anonymous data with non-official and anonymous data and the result is a list of a person’s personal data. Scary, right?

Nothing to hide?

Does this only have implications for the bad guys with something to hide? Again: I do not understand the full picture and depth of this matter. But I do know that tons of studies show that people — when knowingly being watched — engage in more conform and compliant behavior. That doesn’t sound very innovative, does it?

Some then argue that surveillance has always been a part of societies in order to ensure law and order. That is true, but I will argue that techniques for surveillance have changed with the development of new technologies. No matter what opinion you hold, it is crucial to have a discussion about surveillance, privacy and data collection.

Surveillance at Copenhagen Maker

So — the big fat surveillance wolf is not coming. It is already here! What is missing is the discussion about surveillance, privacy and data collection and that is exactly what we will have at the new maker-festival Copenhagen Maker. Join us when Nikolaj Sonne (from So Ein Ding) tells us more about the depth in which we are actually being watched. As a bonus he will teach us a lesson on digital self-defence. Jacob de Lemos is living from collecting our data! He will tell us more about how his company via eye-tracking, facial expressions and alike can tell more about our desires and who we are than we probably like him to.

Something to hide? If you dare you can step into our Facebooth. From face-recognition it will give you a scary list of your data!

Read more about the festival and the full program at http://www.copenhagenmaker.com . And remember to join our Facebook-event: https://www.facebook.com/events/1031958423556103/.

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Guest blog post by Stina Odgaard-Sabally, Copenhagen Maker. This post is part of the collaboration between #CPHFTW and CPH Tech Fest happening in Tech-tember, the month after August. Follow #CPHTechFest to see what and where the events are.