Apr 25, 2011
From Crystal Nwaneri:
What is the problem this idea addresses, why does it matter?
This idea was inspired by a paper discussing the Internet’s “illusion of transience,” which leads people to forget that even ephemeral online activities are recorded, and that those records persist. While people are becoming increasingly wary of personal information stored about them online, many sites do not let users see the stored information for themselves.
What is the goal of the idea?
To enable people to protect their personal information by examining it and seeing how much their own activities generate. Armed with this knowledge, they can change their behavior, and have some control over information stored about them.
How does the idea work?
The idea is to develop a standalone, downloadable program or web-browser add-on that allows users to keep track of how much they are posting online. The program would not gather information as a third-party, but empower users to see what information is available to others. The program would keep track of a user’s typed posts, the amount of time she spends online, and how many sites she visits within a day (or other relevant time frame). The program might also be able to aggregate information about what others are posting about her. In addition, there could be some type of site where people can contribute their thoughts about the program and its effect on their behavior would be the capstone to the project and help dispel the illusion that information about our activities is as fleeting as the activities themselves.