- Forensic devices for activism: Metadata tracking and public proof
- Big Data & Society
- Volume | Issue number
- 2 | 2
- Number of pages
- Document type
- Faculty of Humanities (FGw)
- Amsterdam School for Cultural Analysis (ASCA)
The central topic of this paper is a mobile phone application, ‘InformaCam’, which turns metadata from a surveillance risk into a method for the production of public proof. InformaCam allows one to manage and delete metadata from images and videos in order to diminish surveillance risks related to online tracking. Furthermore, it structures and stores the metadata in such a way that the documentary material becomes better accommodated to evidentiary settings, if needed. In this paper I propose InformaCam should be interpreted as a ‘forensic device’. By using the conceptualization of forensics and work on socio-technical devices the paper discusses how InformaCam, through a range of interventions, rearranges metadata into a technology of evidence. InformaCam explicitly recognizes mobile phones as context aware, uses their sensors, and structures metadata in order to facilitate data analysis after images are captured. Through these modifications it invents a form of ‘sensory data forensics'. By treating data in this particular way, surveillance resistance does more than seeking awareness. It becomes engaged with investigatory practices. Considering the extent by which states conduct metadata surveillance, the project can be seen as a timely response to the unequal distribution of power over data.
Keywords: Forensics, metadata, surveillance,a ctivism, mobile devices, apps
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