Undefined

Social Interaction – Diploma project – R.I.P. un-defined.io – HEAD Geneva – 2014

 Undefined provides to each a tool to understand the recognition algorithms and responsibilities related to our digital identities. To this end, I propose to interfere existing user profiles. I developed two objects, the first one is a web service able to post content on behalf of user's social networks account. The second one is an add-on when added on a browser, it can act on the activity and also on searches of internet users. Then, they are invited to choose between different strategies which send data in a certain way, for example sending similar data to support his/her own identity or, conversely, make it more confusing.


 Today, a large amount of data are transmitted and stored everytime one uses an online service or a connected device.The main attraction of these data for services are their representative nature. These data provide meaning and contextualization of our practice. They can be represented by an image you post, but also the time at which it is posted, your connection time on a website or your chat logs, even the movements of your mouse.

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 To some extent this data are personal, they contribute to create and to constantly reshape our digital identity. This process, that we think ourselves able to control, exist through the code and algorithms. These techniques are opaque and most users have no way to understand how it works and affect us.

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 One of the solution to understand and apprehend technology is the reverse engineering, which means to study something in order to determine how it works. Applied to algorithms, it helps to understand how algorithms use our data to better identify us. By controlling the incoming data, then we would see the purposes of these black boxes.

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 According to a pedagogical approach, the tool, called Undefined, focuses on understanding existing technologies and not anonymous, disconnected or rejection. Therefore, it proposes to control the transmission of your personal data to try understand how the algorithms works. This allows a greater user accountability behavior towards digital services.

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 First, the user is invited for choosing a strategy of sending data between different behaviors in the list, ranging from sending similar data (supporting his identity), to incomplete data (making it more confusing).

 Undefined is composed by two tools; the first one is a browser add-on which proposes others ways for web browsing and search on internet. As an example, It allows, among others, to simulate a navigation or search terms contrary to those initiated.

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 The second tool is similarly and allows you to post content on social networks according to parameters previously selected by the user on his own. Then, he is required to accept permissions that allow Undefined acting in his name to interact with their contacts, for example. All the actions arising from the use of the application do not have the desire to harm directly to your digital identities.

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 To keep track of its interventions, the tool generates a print every time he comes into operation and on which is recorded and archived every action, well kept in mind. Symbolically, these physical and tangible indications become inaccessible to the algorithms and ensure modifications done on digital identities.

 Undefined does not pretend to deceive the big digital actors, but to approach a dialogue based on the challenges and responsibilities that affect us all in our daily use of technology.

Tutor: Douglas Edric Stanley.