Shawn Buckles, who is a student in Norway, has decided to sell all of his personal information, as a statement about the lack of privacy that is going on these days.
“Yes, I am entirely serious,” Buckles said to Wired. “As an artist I was thinking about using my data to address current privacy concerns for a long time. Then a Dutch television programme (Tegenlicht by VPRO) broadcasted a documentary about big data, which triggered the idea to sell my personal data. I thought: oh, the irony.”
So what’s up for sale? Only everything. This includes Buckles’ records that are personal, medical, locational, train and travel records in general, his own calendar, conversations he’s had over email and online and also on social media platforms. There is also his preferences as far as being a consumer is concerned, as well as browser history and also his own personal thoughts as well.
One of the stipulations of the purchase includes the privacy of all the other people that Buckles is having his conversations with.
“Yes, there are privacy concerns,” he said, “after the auction I’ll start negotiations with the highest bidder. One of my terms is the right to protect others’ privacy, as they’re only buying my data and not that of my friends. I will seek advice from a lawyer to protect my and other peoples rights. I will also inform my relations my conversations will be sold.”
Thanks to recent revelations about Edward Snowden, the amount of surveillance going on and a general lack of privacy has been a growing concern. This is largely the message that Buckles wants to get across with his idea.
“Privacy is something of the past, and that concerns me,” Buckles said. “I have nothing to hide (under current civil law) but I’d rather decide for myself who’s getting my data and for what reasons. People don’t seem to understand that privacy and autonomy are very much related and that privacy is a necessity for developing one’s individual, character and ethics.”
“We ourselves are the biggest collectors of data and are giving it away for free by using services such as Facebook and Google<’ he adds. “My biggest concern is governments misusing this data. We’re silently consenting a surveillance state, by making all this data available for free.”