The most compelling exhibit we stumbled across at last week's DUMBO Arts Festival was Risa Puno's "Please Enable Cookies." Puno baked 700 confections iced to resemble the logos of social media companies; to get one you had to turn over personal information, such as your email address, your mother's maiden name, the last four digits of your SSN, and even your fingerprints. ProPublica followed up with Puno and found that 380 New Yorkers participated in the physical phishing performance, 162 of them giving up their SSN info, 117 of them relinquishing their fingerprints, and more than half posing for a photo.
As part of the installation, Puno refused to tell her customers what she had planned on doing with the data, and they signed a document releasing their information to her and allowing it to be shared and displayed.
Many people gave her more information than she asked for.
"That to me was baffling," she told ProPublica. "If I were thinking about giving away my information, I wasn't giving away more than I had to."
Puno's installation echoes Data Dealer, a game designed to teach you about how stunningly easy it is for entities to legally obtain your personal information and sell it wholesale.
Puno says she doesn't know what she'll do with all the data she's collected. Maybe she'll destroy it, or maybe she'll "hold onto them forever."
Your soul for a selfie:
Puno said some participants did not even eat their cookies — they just wanted to take pictures of them. Cookies decorated with the Instagram logo were so popular among photographers that Puno required "purchasers" to give their fingerprints, the last four digits of their Social Security numbers and their driver's license information. Many still agreed. "They wanted to hold it against the sky with the bridge in the background," she said.