MSc Product Design - Make Cookies Physical Again!

After a tutorial with Pete Thomas last week, my project took a slight shift in how I planned to raise awareness about the need for privacy to protect personal information. We talked about how the cultural shift towards technology in recent years has made us more neutral to the idea of these technologies gathering information about us. Pete thought that the project would have a bit more weight if it explored how this shift would eventually lead to a loss of personal freedom - for example, how the loss of physical currency in favour of bank cards would have an affect on people. He also thought it'd be interesting to explore how to create physical manifestations of digital behaviour.

I thought about that last part a lot over the weekend and decided to look at how I could use the concept of internet cookies and make that physical. I started by playing around with RFID technology, as I was interested in how I could use that in conjunction with the Twitter qualities from the previous prototype and made a simple circuit that blinked once for an accepted card, and flashed for an unauthorised card.


Next, I did a quick bit of research to see how websites formatted their cookies message that appear when you enter sites for the first time. Most messages were positive and explained that they were gathering the information for the users benefit and to provide them with better experiences. Almost all of them said that if they continued using the site, they agreed to the monitoring, as well as provided a link to explain the cookie policy With this in mine, I wrote my own for DJCAD:


While satisfied with my small scale prototype, I wanted to see what it would look like in proper context - I created a small paper prototype and placed it outside one of the entrances to the Matthew Building. 

This was a dead easy and quick prototype to do to get me thinking about how to physical create a simple digital behaviour. I think this would be something to do as a potential intervention over the coming weeks and and gauge the responses I could get from these signs, if I can get permission from DJCAD. I think it'd be interesting to see what people would do if they felt uncomfortable about the idea of being monitored while in the building but desperately needed in to use the facilities - would people sacrifice the potential information they would give up for the services?