Life, liberty and the pursuit of personal information

Lei Nelissen

Playlists: 'rc3' videos starting here / audio

In a time and space where even basic human interaction has to be facilitated by computer systems, we find ourselves in a web of systems that aggregate data in places we are unaware of. The vast scope of surveillance capitalism makes us yearn for protest and disruption. Yet, while fighting the power is a worthwhile cause, we suggest a complementary approach in wining and dining the power, and making bureaucracy do the dirty work for you. Strap in for a ride where asserting your God-given data rights isn’t only your duty as citizen, but easy, accessible and fun.

The right to access, right to rectification, right to erasure, right to restriction of processing, right of notification of processing, right to data portability and right to objects are just some of the rights EU citizens enjoy since May 25th 2018, whether the website is hosted and operated in the EU or not. These rights should make it easy for citizens to get a grip on their personal information. We’ve taken the law into our own hands, and found out what it’s like excercising these rights. Spoiler alert: not good.
We’ll walk you through the 58 requests we sent out, and the hilarious and dumbfounding ways they are set up currently. In addition to ventilating our frustration into the void, we make the case for automated data rights: retrieving, editing and removing your data should be as easy a changing your Facebook status. This vision is made real in the form of Aeon: a desktop app that gathers, visualises and allows for modification of your data.