Hacking Story Frameworks: for social impact – BIOMETRIC DATA


Researching around biometric data raising a big challenge. Biometric data collection raises privacy concerns about the ultimate use of this information, not only that it’s information that you carry all the time, it’s information that you can’t reset. Once this data found it’s way to government or other data bases, it’s there and can’t be deleted.


The Problem

losing your anonymity.


The Audience

For this project in general, is everyone that can be seen in public surveillance cameras.

This project is a collaboration with Rebecca ricks, who was also interested in this subject and we came up with 4 design ideas.

1. A physical artifact of data: Physical installation that gives the user personalized information based on a biometric input.

2. Speculative advertisement experience in VR: A personalized VR experience based on biometric data,

3. Biometric resistance kit: A toolkit of objects aimed at masking and altering personal biometric identity.

4. Sell a biometric data on eBay: Collecting pieces of personal data from participants and sell them out on eBay, in order to gauge the monetary value of biometric data.

The kit idea is something that we both would like to continue with, after our research and talk till now, we thought about few options:

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We wanted to create specific events where out product can be used:

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In the research phase we also contacted Professor Nasir Memon, who is a professor in the Computer Science and Engineering at NYU Tandon.His research interests include digital forensics, biometrics, data compression, network security and security and human behavior. We contacted Prof Memon, and he was thrilled to hear that someone has common interest in trying to interfere biometric data collection, and we met 3 of his students researchers: Philip J Bontrager, Kevin Gallagher and Thanos Papadopoulos. We shared our research with them and they shared some of the ideas they had with their professor. They had a lot of interesting ideas, and it seems that our goal of preventing data collection is ambitious, and that this technology always keep getting better and better, and trying to defeat all methods, can be bigger task than what we thought. They suggested to try and test one of the ideas, the surveillance camera’s hat, which involve IR lights that can prevent identifying your face in curtain cameras. We still in contact with Adam Harvey who seems to be very busy.

We also talked to Lior Ben Kereth, who is one of the founders of “face.com” an Israeli start up dealing with face recognition algorithms. His start up was bought by Facebook, and now they work in the HQ in San Francisco. In our conversation Lior explained that face recognition using classic machine learning methods, that classify what is a face, then it detect it and after that it’s recognizing it. Few of the methods that Lior thought can trick the algorithm is to have a t shirt with faces, that can distract the recognition, and also, contrast by make up. Lior also mentioned that all Europe and Canada, not holding their biometric database and u need to ask to join it. Lior explained how the Facebook face recognition works: the algorithm take pictures that you’re been tagged, then it maps it on a 3d face, in order to create your face in any direction. Any tag adding to your database, that way it can learn and aggravate using pictures of different foods, different age. Lior also mentioned, not about Facebook , but in general, using mood detection while watching films , that way you’re data watching the movie can be collected like when you laugh. Lior say Facebook is not collecting your data as biometric data but as social data. companies like Facebook, need their audience trust in order to exist, and they wouldn’t harm it.

We also met with Eric Rosenthal, who explained us about some of his research and experiments on surveillance use in the city. He suggested that we will specify the kinds of machine we aim to disrupt the data collection from- and that way we can be more focus on finding the solution.

Our next step is to prototype using IR (infra red) lights and see how it will effects the cameras that we have here at ITP, and next- cameras outside.


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