Cryptobar @ V&A Data Detox

Fri 28th of April 2017

Pocket Privacy – Data Detox at V&A Friday Late
Compiler in collaboration with Fabio Natali

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What an adventure into the land of Pocket Privacy at the V&A’s Friday Late. We witnessed selfie-stick aerobics, people ‘killing their phones’ by creating signal-blocking pouches, and left wondering why USB condoms weren’t already embedded into our everyday ‘safe-sharing’ practices. This was a brilliant event that tackled both the big and small when it comes to security, encryption and surveillance. The presentation of these emerging issues, in both a historical arts venue and through creative methods, highlighted the important role the arts play in spreading these ideas.

Our own work, the Cryptobar was part of Data Detox. Our encryption software cocktail installation provided a starting point for the excellent group of trainers from Big Brother Watch, Amnesty and Liberty to talk with the public about where their data is going, why it matters, and how to keep it private. Many visitors stayed for lengthy discussions, for although it may seem like you have ‘nothing to hide’, many were surprised at the long trail of digital footprints we leave behind us. This data can be collected, stored, manipulated and compromised in ways that were not even conceivable until a few years ago. We are building technologies that make us vulnerable in new ways, and private companies are interested in collecting and commodifying our data.

Our Cryptobar – as a help desk and as an art project – is about some of the digital tools that can be used to reduce the risks of surveillance. So, have a look at our Cryptobar Menu to find some software that might be right for you. Information security experts say that there is not a single definitive formula to protect your privacy. It is a matter of understanding who you are, what you need to protect and who you need to protect it from.

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