Liming Huang

"Digital Identification"

Section MS5, Bahar Noorizadeh

Keywords: identity, social media, technology

On the 24th of July 2019, FTC (Federal Trade Commission) imposes $5 billion penalty and sweeping new privacy restrictions on Facebook. Currently, we are generating data at a phenomenal rate - a rate that currently exceeds our ability to properly capture, process, store and analyze this data for any meaningful insight in a timely manner. It is noticeable that personal data is not only the product of our life online, but also evidence of online surveillance. It is an ethical paradox itself since the data can be helpful but harmful, necessary for us to trace back and protect us from criminals, but unnecessary to retain them and violate our online privacy. What assumptions can we make on personal data we now share online?

Mediation, in my perspective, is like building a bridge between the existing world with the unseen parts of the virtual world by using the existing materials or outcomes from certain behaviors. In this project, the personal user data is unique, belonging to us individuals and generated by everyone on a daily basis. So, I would like to use the source code of surfing histories, which can be seen as one of the most common outcomes of our life online, as material to re-contextualize and visualize. If we pay direct attention to our own surfing history and mediate them, we will receive a new digital identification of ourselves. The personal data which is about our individuality is now every word that shapes our digital figure on internet and distinguish us from others.

What will those digital figures look like? Will they have a physical body? Will they have a rigid shell?

The source code of my search history will be the original material in this project. By writing a piece of code to extract spatial information, I will build 3d models based on the result of the codes and translate data into physical volume. The unique digital identification is going to keep updating according to my clicks. Besides, I am facing ā€œthe controversial performance of internet surveillanceā€ by viewing another me that was generated based on my own living traces on the internet.