Yesterday I discussed Virtual Jihadi, a repurposed video game by Wafaa Bilal intended to promote discussion by enacting a morally questionable act. At this point, I’m sure we can all agree that the game has achieved this end (see endless coverage), and though its opponents will tell you it crosses a moral line, Virtual Jihadi only proposes a humanized depraved act. By contrast, NorwayWeb by Bjorn Magnhildoen actually commits a crime and asks us to contemplate its morality. Scraping the web for public information, NorwayWeb somehow finds the tax information of each of its country’s citizens (roughly 4 million) and compiles it as a number carpet (see picture above). Hovering over a number in the carpet, will produce the tax payer information in an adjacent window, though the results are essentially meaningless since there’s no way to search for any one name. Also, since the program takes about 555 hours to complete, and the results are lost to the viewer once the page is closed, there’s not much most people could do with this data. And yet, it forces a conversation I feel guilty for even engaging. Just because the information is needlessly out there to be harvested, doesn’t necessarily mean that it should be done, even if the end goal is to make us more aware of the ways in which our privacy is being compromised. Is there no better way to make this point than by creating a poorly functioning tool that suggests the possibility of more sinister crimes?
Originally via: furtherfield