Back in early June of this year I had the good fortune of listening to Phil Windley talking about digital identity, sovereign source identity, block chain, and much more at BYU’s The University API event. I deeply respect the caliber of thinking around these questions the BYU IT team bring to their approach to APIs and Domain of One’s Own, and I am getting ready to head out to Provo at the end of the month to talk about just this. One of the things Phil showed off during one of the sessions that stuck with me was the 2004 video created by the American Civil Liberties Union titled “Ordering a Pizza in 2015.”
The video provides a view of what the unregulated collection of our personal data by corporations could mean in 2015. It’s an brilliantly executed quotidian dystopia story. It all starts off very normal: man orders pizza. But quickly spirals into ab absurd, Kafkaesque world of surveillance and control. A satirical play that highlights how quickly the unchecked harvesting of our personal data erodes some basic tenets of a free society. I love the way this video walks the fine line between the everyday and the fantastic. And what’s even crazier 11 years later through this piece is that the chilling future possible of 2004 has become status quo in 2015.
So, yesterday I borrowed this page from Phil Windley’s book during a presentation Martha Burtis and I did at the Universidad del Sagrado Corazón about Domain of One’s Own and digital identity (more on that in a forthcoming post). The video was well received, and it is a testament to the fact that the worst kind of clean, well-lighted dystopias can come true. The clip provided a simultaneously comic and horrific view of our current moment.
After this video I went on to discuss the above clip featuring Edward Snowden, a bit frightening how well the two worked together. The protection of our personal data online is first and foremost a civil liberties issue!