One of the major challenges in digital communications security is that every digital message we send interacts with many different systems behind the scenes, each of which can expose bits of information to others.
This detailed illustration provides an overview of how the Internet functions, including explanations of what “metadata” is typically stored by digital companies and available to (U.S.) authorities, as well as the mechanics of digital security technologies like Tor and encrypted email.
High-quality prints of The What, Where, When, How and Why of Who Can See Your Information Online are available for order (at cost) online. It is available in both a 24″x36″ (61cm x 91cm) wall-sized version, and an individual 12″x18″ (30cm x 45cm) size. You can also download a hi-res version of the image at the link below.
Order a print | Download hi-res image
While it is natural to think of digital information security as primarily an issue of passwords and encryption, a simple first step towards protecting digital data is to make it less detectable. Drawing on the idea of defensive clothing and expanding the concept to include personal data, “Hiding in Plain Sight” incorporates USB keys into convincingly wearable accessories, in an attempt to bring both imagination and whimsy to the often ominous and defeating field of information security. This piece is designed especially to encourage those who don’t consider themselves technically savvy to consider how their individual skills and perspectives can be applied to generate novel forms of digital information protection. “Hiding in Plain Sight” was exhibited as part of the PRISM Breakup exhibit at Eyebeam Gallery in New York, October 4-12, 2013.
These days, most of us don’t think twice about how to find contact information for someone online: a web or social media search for a given name is likely to turn up several (if not hundreds) of results, that we then narrow down using other information we may know about them – such as where they work or, more simply, what they look like.
Though most of us might not use the term, this process of using additional information to confirm what real person “owns” a digital identity – like a social media handle or an email address – is what is known in information security as authentication. And while considered an integral part of secure digital exchanges – especially around encrypted data – it’s one of those aspects of digital communication security that’s best addressed in non-digital ways.
Jewel.ID is designed to help improve the process of digital authentication by making it easy and appealing for individuals to carry and share their PGP “fingerprint” with others. Using a laser cutter, on one side the Jewel.ID is etched with a decorative pattern or design of the bearer’s choosing; on the other, a QR code representation of the individual’s PGP “fingerprint” is inscribed. To share the code, the other party can simple scan the QR code with their mobile device, or snap a photo of the fingerprint string. This can then be easily compared to the fingerprint found on a key server or other website in order to authenticate it to that particular person.
Jewel.ID is sturdy, inexpensive, and easy to add to a keyring or wear as a necklace pendant. By moving the process of digital authentication to an attractive analog “channel,”
Jewel.ID can help improve your daily information security and help you look good doing it!