The Shed in Hudson Yards has an exhibition on right now called Manual Override. It features the work of five artists. One of those artists is Lynn Hershman Leeson, who is known for exploring the relationship between humans and technology (naturally, she lives in the Bay Area). Her piece at the exhibition is called Shadow Stalker.
The way Shadow Stalker works is that you enter your email address — a single data point. The installation then pulls up all of the publicly accessible information associated with your email address. Things like your name, age, address, phone numbers, where you were last seen, and more.
She refers to this information as your “digital shadow.” It is all of the personal information that is publicly accessible because of the internet. And it is the kind of the information that is already used for things like “predictive policing.” Software that predicts where crime is likely to occur.
I am fairly public as a result of this blog. Already this year I have written over 75,000 words. So I can only imagine what the internet knows about me. Probably a lot. But of course, I am volunteering a lot of this information. What does the internet know about us that we didn’t explicitly tell it?
If you’re interested in learning more about Shadow Stalker, here’s a video.