DataPress explores the issue of data privacy through speculative design. It is a device that connects to users’ smartphones to print data records that have been collected by the various products and services they use.
Online users consistently express concerns about data privacy but do not make an effort to actually protect their data—a phenomenon known as the privacy paradox. In doing so, users experience cognitive dissonance: a state of psychological discomfort that arises when one’s beliefs, attitudes, and behaviour contradict one another. I was interested in designing an experience that brings users’ existing concerns of data privacy to the forefront, exploring how subsequently heightened feelings of dissonance could provoke users to be more mindful of their online behaviour. DataPress does so by pulling back the curtain on exactly what data is collected on users.
With the goal of getting users to confront the reality of their data privacy, I was drawn towards a print medium—to transform what is digital, invisible, and private to tangible and visible. This led to the concept of using receipts, playing into the reality that data is a valuable commodity in today’s digital age that users “sell” to companies for free.