John Evans

user experience/interaction designer, researcher, HIIT Helsinki Institute for Information Technology (FI)

Aware and Loca: Letting others know where you are

Accidental Surveillance is the byproduct of the shift from a society of high effort surveillance to one where our every digital action is automatically logged and indexed with little effort; i.e. our digital identities are created and embellished. This 'brave new world' has a direct effect on how personal information is used for both people's benefit (e.g. Amazon suggesting a book that you are likely to enjoy) and for people's detriment (e.g. identity theft). Moreover, these digital actions increasingly leave behind very physical markers; physical markers which unlike finger prints can be indexed and disseminated each and every time we click a mouse or take a step.

The recording of these actions has become less and less of a choice and more and more of a compulsory trade-off to gain access to new services. The issue is not that this encroachment of privacy for convenience is bad per-se or that there are no positive uses for the logging of our actions. The issue is that many services and technologies, which ask us to give up an incrementally greater amount of our private information, do so without thought or care for the indirect results of making a subset of that data public, i.e. these services are the enablers of Accidental Surveillance. It is imperative that people are equipped with the knowledge to deal with the ambiguity of their digital identities and make informed decisions about the networks that they populate; with this in mind this paper presents the Aware/ContextPhone collaboration as a real world example of Accidental Surveillance and the Loca project which critically engages this phenomena.

John Evans
in a User Experience/Interaction Designer currently working as a researcher at the Helsinki Institute for Information Technology. He also maintains the 3eyes Interaction Design Consultancy. His work is eclectic in both scope and discourse and is typified by a series of complex ideas refined into a simple solution.

John's work is focused upon how people interact and understand the world around them; much of this interaction is mediated via objects and the spaces people occupy. It is the experience of this mediation that is the locus of John's work. This complexity and detail of subject matter, demands a design practice that encompasses a wide array of skills and knowledge in order to research, envisage, prototype and design the objects, spaces and experiences John creates.

Currently John's work focuses upon investigating social interactions with mobile devices and extensive research into notions of 'shared experience' and privacy.