I ran across a story in Sophos’ excellent Naked Security blog about Follower. This is a
social network art project where you can apply to be followed for a day by giving the project your phone’s location data for the day. At the end of your day being followed you get a surveillance photo as a souvenir. I imagine the reasons why people would want to be followed are as varied as people. The techniques for accomplishing it, however, are simple to the point of boring.
I have many questions about this, but let’s start with those about how the location data sharing is protected from eavesdropping or theft. The artist who created this keeps saying that it’s “HTTPS”. This apparently means the same thing that “Anti-Virus” meant in the ’90s: security is covered, nothing to see here, move along. I sincerely hope there’s more to Follower’s security posture than an SSL certificate. But in the long run, what difference does it make?
One of the points of this project — I hope — is to open a discussion of how open our digital selves are to being surveilled or interfered-with, due our technology’s non-stop spewing of the data it accumulates in our pockets, on our desks and nightstands, in our cars. We need to become more mindful of this and a project like Follower is possibly an ice-breaker to that.