|SWIPE by Preemptive Media||About | Performance | Bar | Toolkit | Appearances |Images | Credits|
Last Update: 5/22/05
SWIPE travels to Canada for Database Imaginary.
SWIPE has undergone a site redesign. Do you miss the old site? Visit it here.
SWIPE Toolkit Launches New Interactive Map revealing what information US and Canada are encoding on drivers' licenses
SWIPE Stickers: Create Your Own SWIPE Data Protection Stickers
SWIPE In the News:
SWIPE Related News:[For more current Swipe-related news items, check out the Preemptive Media blog]
In Age of Security, Firm Mines Wealth Of Personal Data
Security Checks to Greet Fallujah's Returning Residents
US Opposed Passport Privacy Protections
In Texas, 28,000 Students Test an Electronic Eye
Passenger Records Sought
Emerging "Surveillance-Industrial Complex" Is Turbo-Charging Government Monitoring
FLORIDA MAN CHARGED WITH BREAKING INTO ACXIOM COMPUTER RECORD
SWIPE addresses the gathering of data from drivers' licenses, a form of data-collection that businesses are practicing in the United States. Bars and convenience stores were the first to utilize license scanners in the name of age and ID verification. These businesses, however, admit they reap huge benefits from this practice beyond catching underage drinkers and smokers with fake IDs. With one swipe—that often occurs without notification or consent by the cardholder—a business acquires data that can be used to build a valuable consumer database free of charge. Post 9/11, other businesses, like hospitals and airports, are installing license readers in the name of security. And still other businesses are joining the rush to scan realizing the information contained on drivers' licenses is a potential gold mine. Detailed database records, of course, also benefit law enforcement officers who can now demand this information without judicial review in large part due to the USA Patriot Act.
Many people are unaware that personal data is even encoded on their license, and, if they do realize this, they probably do not know exactly what information is there. SWIPE brings attention to these practices and enables people to see exactly what is stored on their mysterious strip.
SWIPE also illustrates how this information is used and why businesses and government crave it. Our hope is to encourage thinking beyond the individual self ("I do not care if a bar database has my name and address and time of visit...") toward understanding databases as a discursive, organizational practice and an essential technique of power in today's social field.
With public knowledge there is a chance for public voices, and ultimately resistance.
Situated in a real life activity, the SWIPE performance directly confronts the public with today's data collection practices and gives people access to their own data image.
The performance takes place at any event in which alcohol is served like opening receptions, gala events or corporate functions. The stage for the SWIPE performance is a customized, alcohol-serving bar. The SWIPE bar is stocked with standard bar equipment and goods, but has additional unique features like an automated driver's license scanner, data visualization monitor and a hacked cash register that prints unusual receipts for its customers.
People who approach the bar in search of a refreshing drink will be asked by a bartender (SWIPE member) to show their driver's license for age verification. The bartender will look at the license and place it in an automated, scanning device. While the customer waits for his/her drink order, the SWIPE cash register performs a technique called computer matching based on the driver's license information. Several minutes later, the person's name is called and he/she receives their drink with "receipt." The receipt is a SWIPE compiled data image consisting of the data encoded on a driver's license augmented by online searches of data-warehouses and/or demographic analysis generated by SWIPE custom-designed software.
When funding permits, SWIPE serves specialty drinks like the TSA, TIA and CAPPS II. Each drink attempts to explain its mysterious and obtuse title.
Near the counter are computer stations, displaying the SWIPE bar web site. The site reveals the inner workings of the SWIPE bar and discusses some current data collection practices, policies and concerns.
Following the performance and event, the SWIPE bar can remain on site as a functioning installation. In this format people use the automated license-scanning device and receive their data receipts, but unfortunately no liquor is served.
The SWIPE Bar is a nomadic and technologically empowered bar that serves up a lot more than just wine and spirits! In the past two years, SWIPE has traveled to New York, Los Angeles, San Francisco, Washington DC, Pittsburgh, Chicago, Raleigh, Ljubljana, Toronto and Banff.
Visit the official SWIPE Bar web site to see documentation and find out more.
The SWIPE Toolkit is a collection of web-based tools that sheds light on personal data collection and usage practices in the United States. The tools demonstrate the value of personal information on the open market and enable people to access information encoded on a driver's license or stored in some of the many commercial data warehouses.
The SWIPE Toolkit is a 2003 commission of New Radio and Performing Arts, Inc. (aka Ether-Ore) for its Turbulence web site.
Database Imaginary, Dunlop Gallery
Database Imaginary, Walter Philips Gallery
Freedom 2.0: Distributed Democracy
The Upgrade @ Eyebeam
Beall Center for Art and Technology
Introducing AIDC as a Tool for Data Surveillance
Version>03: Digital Arts Convergence
Subtle Technologies 03
Biennale, Pittsburgh Center for the Arts
Red Hat's Tech Circus
SWIPE was created and produced by Beatriz da Costa, Jamie Schulte and Brooke Singer of Preemptive Media.
SWIPE was funded in part by the Franklin Furnace, the Experimental Television Center, Beall Center for Art and Technology and Turbulence.org.