Human Rights

Have you ever seen a cookie so damn delicious that you’d give away a chunk of your identity just for one satisfying bite? It’s nothing short of the American way to say, “hell yeah, free food!” and forget all about the personal data aspect. That’s exactly what happened during this “Please Enable Cookies” experiment that took place at a recent Brooklyn Arts Festival.

Mashable and ProPublica reported that artist Risa Puno offered up free cookies in exchange for personal data from passers by. This data ranged from information like home addresses and telephone numbers to social security number digits and fingerprints, but it’s cool because the cookie flavors ranged from “Chocolate Chili Fleur de Sel” to “Pink Pistachio Peppercorn.”

Unsurprisingly, a large chunk of participants went for the cookie. Even those who asked where the data was going often stop caring so much after being given a lengthy terms of service release full of tiny print (tiny print that gave her the right to share the display the info and share it with others). According to Mashable, her findings, for 380 participants, were as follows:

“More than half of the people allowed Puno to take their photographs. Just under half — or 162 people — gave what they said were the last four digits of their Social Security numbers. And about one-third — 117 people — allowed her to take their fingerprints. She examined people’s driver’s licenses to verify some of the information they provided.”

This goes to show that not only do Americans love cookies, especially ones that look like cute social media icons because that makes them relatable, but they also have no value for their own privacy. Puno still doesn’t know what she’s going to do with the information that she retrieved, but for the simple price of a few batches of desserts, she now has a goldmine for any entry-level hacker.

[Photo credit: Talisman Brolin]