Hyunmyung Yang


Synopticon: A Data Visualization Tool for Monitoring Corporate Data Collection

Advised by Krzysztof Wodiczko

Our daily lives create digital data that is monitored by the digital panopticon. By exposing ourselves through various smart digital devices, social media, and apps, we are unintentionally contributing to this surveillance state. Moreover, the rapidly growing Internet of Things (IoT) ecosystem is ending the era of privacy, and the development of big data and artificial intelligence has already allowed a hyperconnected era between humans, things, space, and machines. The conventional view of privacy maintains the right to be free from interference or infringement. In the digital panopticon, however, it is necessary to have an accurate understanding of personal information, self-determination, and the monitoring of data-using corporations. Many IT companies are accumulating data under the pretext of consumer convenience, such as personalized services and advertising. This data raises concerns about the possibility of balance between personalization services and privacy. The historical strategy of controlling corporations through pressure from state institutions cannot alleviate the side effects of digital society. 

Disclosure of data use allows for reverse monitoring and reduces the vertical dynamics of the digital panopticon. This project develops approaches for a real-time visualization of privacy issues in smart devices that watch and listen to users and store user data. A device designed to read data flow and show the amount and content of collected information in an IoT environment can reveal the environment’s data use. Through developing this visualizing device, this study aims to draw user attention to personal data and further explore opportunities to monitor companies’ collection and use of data.

A central image of a rounded cylindrical metal “machine” in vertical layers in over a background of brightly colored swirls and rings and blue blurry structured text