For our project at the “Rigged Systems” Web Residency, we propose to leverage the privacy policies forced compliance users are subjected to, with the reading and comprehension complexity purposely embedded in those policies.
There’s an apparent contradiction between the ubiquity of privacy policies (PP) one is bound to agree in order to make use of today’s digital platforms and the, in most cases, extremely difficult reading experience that comes in trying to understand exactly what one is agreeing to. Most PP make use of linguistic strategies to, by design, obfuscate their true meaning. The use of legal jargon, coupled with premeditated vagueness, in a writing composed of long and winding sentences, results in texts that in many cases reach college-level (and up) reading requirements.
We propose to use the text from the PP of online digital platforms as source material for several small multimedia object-pieces. Those objects will emphasize the unintelligible quality of the policies, will be created for the main medium each platform emphasizes (sound, image, text, video), and hosted on the platform itself.
Here is a preliminary selection of platforms to be used and pieces to be created:
– Twitter: bot that tweets the PP letter by letter, during four weeks (the duration of the residency).
– YouTube: ASMR reading of a printed copy of the PP, but everytime the word “privacy” appears the video gets 10% faster.
– Bandcamp: album with tracks created by heavily editing and processing a recorded narration of the PP, such as: all words superimposed to sound at the same time; all words superimposed to sound at the same time, but time stretched to the time it takes to read the whole PP; the whole PP read in 1 second.
– Whatsapp: chatbot that, once it receives a word, will reply with all sentences where that word occurs in the PP.
– Facebook: page that posts daily a markov chain generated version of the PP, where every word is a link to an online dictionary with the definition of that word.
An aggregator website for the project will be created, with general info about the project and links to the different platforms hosting each individual piece. The landing page for the project will contain a yet unknown piece that makes use of all PP from all platforms at the same time, along with the Akademie Schloss Solitude data privacy declaration we’re agreeing to by submitting the present document.https://www.nytimes.com/interactive/2019/06/12/opinion/facebook-google-privacy-policies.html
Magno Caliman is a Brazilian sound artist and multimedia performer currently living and working in Portugal, with a practice heavily rooted in the embracing of programming languages as places for poetical speculation, as well as the construction, modification and manipulation of electronic circuits. Originally trained in Classical Music Composition at the conservatory, he holds a masters diploma in Education, and has taught, presented solo exhibitions and performed in several countries around Europe, South and North America.