Being aware of the information we share is an increasingly important consideration in our connected lives. Many of us don’t really think about the digital footprints we leave or what organisations might do with the apparently trivial details they gather when we sign up for new products or services. Many “free” offers are contingent on us handing over personal details and we rarely consider where these end up: if you’re not paying for a digital product, you are the digital product.
If you’re not paying for a digital product, you are the digital product.
Conscious of the normalisation of handing over personal data when signing up for something new online, and to coincide with the Economic and Social Research Council’s (ESRC) Festival of Social Science, Play with Learning was commissioned by the UK’s Open University to help develop a game that could tackle the issues. In a first for the OU, we have launched a multiplayer game on Facebook where you can explore the value of information.
Playing a different character and entrusted with various pieces of information in the game, you take turns to share and trade data in an attempt to maximise its value.
The original card game was developed by David Barnard Wills as part of the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Centre (EPSRC) funded Visualisation and Other Methods of Expression (VOME) project, which was based at Cranfield, Royal Holloway and Salford University. We took the basic mechanics and converted it to a competitive online game.
Playing a game on Facebook that explores privacy is novel and ironic and hopefully will encourage us to think about what we should share and what we should keep private.
You can learn more about the OU’s related studies on OpenLearn.