Research: A Bit[E] Of Me by Federico Zannier


Screen shot 2014-09-02 at 7.04.30 PM  You added Randall Packer as a friend

Screen shot 2014-09-02 at 7.04.30 PM Sharanya Pillai posted in OSS NTU

Screen shot 2014-09-02 at 7.04.30 PM MJ Quek invited you to like his page Merje!


Often, we skim through Facebook notifications to see whats new with our friends and with our own profile pages. Sometimes, we do it to get rid of the annoying red bubble on the header. Either way, we have access to our friends information and almost everything they decide to share and post on their pages.

You then go on and quickly scroll through your news feed; game requests, music suggestions and family photos… more family photos. On your own page; selfies, cat videos, music videos, photos with your classmates. You wanted to share these with your friends.

Like many, I spend hours everyday surfing the net everyday. Meanwhile, companies exploit my data and gain all the benefit from knowing what websites i visit, who I am friends with, the videos i watch.

There is no such thing as privacy
on the internet anymore.

“If you look at privacy in law, one important concept is a reasonable expectation of privacy. As more private lives are exported online, reasonable expectations are diminishing.”

Dr. Kieron O’hara

Facebook apps allow you to play games, take quizzes, and set up a family tree. Facebook allows apps to make the site seem more useful to its users. The company says 70% of users use apps each month. But what happens when the external companies that create these apps are allowed to gain access to your personal information?

They sell it and make money!

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You didn’t share all these internet data with them, they stole it from you – and they’re the ones making all the money! Quite a despicable plan they have set up, and we have little to no control about what kind of data and information they can mine from us.

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Companies that want to make use of the personal information people put online should pay for it.
– US Consumer Electronics Association (CEA)

The security of personal data on the Internet and Facebook has become a hot topic among many netizens ever since The Wall Street Journal investigated and reported a high-profile glitch: Facebook in Online Privacy Breach. Following the investigation, it is found that many of the most popular applications on the social-networking site Facebook have reportedly been transmitting identifying information to dozens of advertising and Internet tracking companies. 


The mining of personal data affects tens of millions of Facebook users – even the ones who have set their profiles to the strictest privacy settings. Putting anything up online is as good as offering the information for just about anyone to access.

“We have taken immediate action to disable all applications that violate our terms,” a Facebook spokesman said. Either way, even without Facebook apps, companies are getting smarter about how they go about data mining.


Zannier’s idea was simple – compile his own data and sell his data files for $2/day. He challenged this notion of companies secretly data mining by setting up a kickstarter page to sell his own personal data. His crass sarcasm made him money.


(click to view larger image)

“I’ve data mined myself. I’ve violated my own privacy. Now I am selling it all. But how much am I worth?”

“I’m selling this data for $2 a day. If more people do the same, I’m thinking marketers could just pay us directly for our data. It might sound crazy, but so is giving all our data away for free.”

says Federico Zannier in his new Kickstarter campaign. 

Good question.

Anyone who wants personal information can easily obtain much of it from your behavior on the Internet. Companies tracking and aggregating our clicks, taps, and swipes are the ones making money while the individuals are not. Our personal data information are worth billions to marketers every year. Should we be getting a share? Zanier’s project hopes to get more people thinking about the revolution of internet and big data.

According to Viktor Mayor-Shonberger, big data is “so fundamental a change… that it is important not just for every business, for every organization, for every government agency to look at big data… but also for society at large, because we need to put safeguards in place to make sure that big data does not control us.”

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A Bit(E) of Me on Kickstarter

“Zannier says he is willing to “give away a lifelong, international, sub-licensable right to use [his] personal data” as part of an experiment to see if there might be a market for such data sold by the individual Internet users who actually generate it.”
– reports PC Magazine

The project received overwhelming response and support. His initial target of $500 worth of pledges ended with $2733 – a whopping 546% funded. Clearly, many netizens shared the same sentiments as Zannier.

Federico’s Data Visualisation: (3 months)
(which I think is so awesome. sure, i’ll part with $2)







Although Zannier is not the first to come up with the concept of exchanging personal data for money, he got a lot of people thinking, as well as commenting on social media platforms.

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