Democratizing Our Data : Finding Balance Living In A World Of Data Control

Detta är en Master-uppsats från Umeå universitet/Designhögskolan vid Umeå universitet

Sammanfattning: The 2018 scandal where Cambridge Analytica tampered with U.S. elections using targeted ad campaigns driven by illicitly collected Facebook data has shown us that there consequences of living in a world of technology driven by data. Mark Zuckerberg recently took part in a congressional hearing making the topic of controlling data an important discussion at even the highest level of the government. Alternatively we can also recognize the benefits that data has in terms of technology and services that are highly personalized because of data.There’s nothing better than a targeted ad that appears at just the right time when you need to make a purchase or when Spotify provides you with the perfect playlist for a Friday night. This leaves us torn between opposites; To reject data and abandon our technology returning to the proverbial stone age, or to accept being online all the time monitored by a vast network of sensors that feed data into algorithms that may know more about our habits then we do. It is the friction of these polar opposites that will lead us on a journey to find balance between the benefits and negatives of having data as part of our everyday lives.To help explore the negatives and positives that will occur on this journey I developed Data Control Box, a product that ask the question “How would you live in a world where you can control your data?” Found in homes and workplaces, it allows individuals or groups of people to control their data by placing their mobile devices into it’s 14x22.5x15 cm acrylic container.Where the General Data Protect Act (GDPR) regulates and controls data after it has been produced by enforcing how “business processes that handle personal data must be built with data protection by design and by default, meaning that personal data must be stored using pseudonymisation or full anonymisation, and use the highest-possible privacy settings by default, so that the data is not available publicly without explicit consent, and cannot be used to identify a subject without additional information stored separately” (Wikipedia, 2018),Data Control Box limits personal data production through a physical barrier to it’s user prior to it’s creation. This physical embodiment of data control disrupts everyday habits when using a mobile device, which in turn of a creates the opportunity for reflection and questioning on what control of data is and how it works. For example a person using Data Control Box can still create data using a personal computer despite having placed their mobile device inside Data ControlBox. Being faced with this realization reveals aspects of the larger systems that might not have been as apparent without Data Control Box and can serve as a starting point to answering the question “How would you live in a world where you can control your data.” To further build on this discussion people using DataControl Box are encouraged to share their reflections by tweeting to the hashtag#DataControlBox. These tweets are displayed through Data Control Box’s 1.5 inchOLED breakout board connected to an Arduino micro-controller. Data ControlBox can interface with any network connected computer using a usb cord which also serves as a power source. The connected feature of Data Control Box allows units found around the world to become nodes in a real time discussion about the balance of data as a part of everyday life, but also serves as a collection of discussions that took place over time starting May of 2018.As a designer, the deployment of Data Control Box allowed me to probe the lives of real people and to see how they might interact with Data Control Box but also their data in a day to day setting. A total of fifteen people interacted with DataControl Box following a single protocol that was read aloud to them beforehand.A number of different contexts for the deployment of Data Control Box we’re explored such as at home, on a desk at school and during a two hour human computer lecture. I collected a variety of qualitative research in the form of photos and informal video interviews during these deployments which I synthesized into the following insights that can be used by designers when considering how to design for the control of data but also how to design for complex subjects like data. This paper retraces my arrival at this final prototype sharing the findings of my initial research collected during desk research, initial participant activities, and creation of my initial prototype Data Box /01. It then closes with a deeper dive into the design rationale and process when building my final prototype Data ControlBox and summarizes in greater detail insights I’ve learned from it’s deployment through results discussion and creative reflection.

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